Monday, August 15, 2016

Deeply

I randomly woke up in the middle of the night last night.  As I laid in bed, I started thinking about my friends.  I have been so blessed with friends.

My longest friendship is with Leslie, whom I met in 6th grade.  It was my first year in a new city, at a new school, with a new stepmom.  I had become friends with the girls in my neighborhood, and one day they told me they didn't want me in their circle of friends anymore.  God tapped Leslie on the shoulder and she obeyed by giving me a place to sit at lunch.  Soon we were exchanging creatively written Bible verses and mixed tapes of DC Talk songs.  Our technology may have changed, but we still send each other Bible verses and song lyrics via text.  She's one of my prayer warriors.

I'm still friends with two of my college roommates, and my family recently drove to Kansas to visit one of them.  It was amazing to see her and her husband and children.  I love that we've known each other at different stages of life.


Megan moved here when our girls were chubby little babies.  We have journeyed together through play groups, potty training, preschool, traveling husbands, family trauma, school drama, Bible studies, and the ups and downs of being entrenched in church ministry.  Megan possesses strength that few people do.  We have seen each other sick and unshowered and ugly crying.  We operate completely differently but I appreciate learning from her.

I couldn't find a good picture of Megan and me, so here are a few pictures of our kids together early in our friendship.



About two years ago, Michele and her daughter Abby were walking towards the school as I was walking out with Nora.  Abby declared to her mom that "that girl" (Nora) would be her best friend.  A few months later Michele and I started talking and getting to know one another, and we became besties right along with our daughters.  Michele is very generous and has forced me to accept her help.  She keeps my kids when I have an appointment for myself or one kid.  She offers whatever she has to people around her.  I never clean my house or put on makeup before Michele comes over.  Plus I got to be part of Michele finding God and allowing Him into her heart and life, and there is no greater joy than that.

Me and Michele

Kim moved into the house across the street from me about a year ago.  We waved when we passed each other.  One day we bumped into her in Target while she was carrying her teeny newborn baby and we were worn out from the battle for Nolan's health.  We got to talk more about real life, and she said she would be praying for Nolan.  There's nothing that sucks me in more than a little baby.  So every time I saw Kim outside with her kids, I found a reason to cross the street and hold her little guy.  This summer my kids have fallen in love with Kim's older two kids and play together nearly every day.  Kim and I have had many in-depth chats and know a lot about each other's struggles.  Each of our interactions has been like a thread that God is weaving together as part of His plan.

Last week I got to spend time with Jess, whom I have known for a couple years but don't see all that often.  In the last few days, I have learned so much about Jess and her history and where she is in life right now.  I treasure these moments where she trusts me with her story.

I have fabulous groups of friends as well:  the school moms, the church family, the Bible study ladies, the neighbors.  I'm even close friends with some family members.  Recently one group of my friends had pictures taken together.  Getting my picture taken is one of my least favorite things ever, so this was sacrificial love for me. :)

These friends are my "Crew"

Over the last week, God has really been moving in the circle of Michele, Kim, Jess, and me.  It's been so exciting!  But I also found myself worrying what my "old" friends might think of my increased involvement with new friends.  I actually worry about this a lot.  I want every one of my friends to be my best friend.  I don't want anyone to ever be left out or feel forgotten.  I recently read a blog post about how God brings you some friends for a season, and He eventually leads you on to new relationships in His timing.  I had such a hard time accepting this information because I just love all my friends so much and don't want to let go of a single one!

One friend told me the other day that God has given me the gift of loving and caring for people.  I hadn't really thought about it that way before.  But the more I thought about it (what else am I gonna do when I'm wide awake at 4:00 am?), the more I could see that maybe the way I feel about my friends is a gift from God.

I love my people so deeply.  I sometimes feel a physical ache in my chest when I miss someone or a surge of joy when I get to see one of my peeps.  I genuinely care about what is on their minds and I often feel whatever emotions they express.  I crave close connection with people.

The irony of how God made me is that I have this deep love for people but I'm also an introvert.  So after I get to spend time with people, I need alone time to recharge.  It would have been more convenient for me if God had made me an extravert!

Another downside of how I experience emotions is that while I love deeply, I also hurt deeply.  Both of these weaknesses of mine lead me to seek comfort and renewal from God.  So I suppose He knew what He was doing when He made me this way.

This has been a season of uncertainty for me.  I don't know if Nolan will be able to handle traditional school or if I will be his full-time caregiver and educator this year.  I don't know if Nora and Griffin will get the teachers I want for them or if we might have a year of learning to deal with tough people.  I have no idea what my daily life will look like starting next week.

So I'm following little bread crumbs God has been leaving me.  The season of Nolan's health struggles has been a time of letting go of responsibilities and activities.  We've been simplifying life as much as possible.  After all of this stripping away, I keep waiting for the rebuilding to start.  This past week or so I have felt a long-lost glimmer of passion as I've been talking to new friends and sensing where God might want to use me.  There are so many questions unanswered, but I think God waking me up in the middle of the night to talk to me about my deep love for people is a good lead to follow.

Jessica

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Lazy Way to Fix a Big Waistband

At the end of the season last summer, I bought some clearance swim suits/trunks for my kids.  There was one pair of swim trunks that Nolan wouldn't wear this year because the waistband was too big and they didn't have a drawstring or any way to adjust them.

I kept putting off fixing them because fixing them the "right" way seemed time-consuming.  So today I fixed them the lazy way!

I bought shoestrings that matched the swim trunks.  The only other supply I needed was some FrayCheck, which I always have in my sewing arsenal.


I needed to cut two openings in the waistband, one on each side of the front center.

I gathered up just the front layer of fabric and made a vertical cut.



I did the same on the other side of the front center.

It's hard to see but there's a cut near each of my fingers.
I coated the new openings with FrayCheck to keep them from, well, fraying.


Then I fed one end of the shoestring through one opening and pushed it through the waistband until it came out the other opening.


And they're done!


Now Nolan can tighten them and avoid any embarrassing swim situations.

P.S.  Neon yellow is hard to photograph!

Jessica

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Let's Catch Up!

I haven't posted on here in a ridiculous amount of time.  So let's catch up, shall we?

I'm just gonna give you the main bullet points and a few pictures of what's happened in our world since my last post TWO MONTHS ago.

Nolan, my firstborn baby, turned 10!  I struggled with moving into double digits.

He had a friend party with basketball as the theme.


Then he had a family party with basketball as the theme.  I let him choose anything he wanted as the family meal, and he chose cereal. :)  He wanted strawberry shortcake for dessert, so I made two types of shortcake from scratch.


Nora lost two more teeth.


I got bit by a mystery bug and had to track the swelling/spreading with markers.


I did a lot of puzzles.  Like, a really lot of puzzles.  This is only a sample.


I planted a garden.  It started to grow.  Peter Cottontail ate said garden.  So Jared put a chicken wire fence around the garden to see if anything could be saved.  Since putting in the fence, the garden has gone from this:


To this:



Jared's oldest brother and his two boys came to visit.  We had some fun cousins time at Wildlife Prairie Park.




Griffin became obsessed with our family history and he read every page of a book my dad made about our family.


Then he took and edited this picture of himself to look like the old pictures in our book:


Griffin kept up with piano lessons this summer.  That was our only kid activity.


We went strawberry picking with some friends.



They were the best strawberries I have ever tasted!  We ate so many of them just straight up.  Then I made strawberry rhubarb jam.




We made "The Blob" that I've seen over and over on Pinterest.


Nolan hurt his shoulder playing basketball.


My brother and I met my dad for lunch on Father's Day.  Our kids had so much fun together at the restaurant!



We watched every single game of the entire NBA Finals.  Jared was out of the country during the very last game so Nolan and I stayed up late to watch it together.


My niece Layla flew here from Florida to visit.  We were so happy to see her!


We went to Kansas so Jared could attend some meetings for work and I could spend time with my college roommate Angela and her two adorable boys.




I helped a friend paint a couch.  Yes, I do mean we painted the fabric cushions and all.  It was an experience.



My sister and her husband and son arrived from Florida and were reunited with Layla.  They all stayed at my house for half of their visit and I so enjoyed my time with them! 

They were here for the 4th of July.



I bought lipstick.  Yes, this is newsworthy.  Lipstick scares me.


After driving some distance to an appointment for Nolan, I took the kids to a nearby museum called the Wheels O Time Museum.  It was so cool!



We had a dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law's 40th birthday, and Nora fell asleep on me at the dinner.


One of the most exciting updates of all:  My brother and sister-in-law had their fourth baby!  Little Lyle is so tiny and perfect.





Finally, my sister and I had pictures taken with three very close friends.  I'm still working on editing the pictures, but here's what I have done so far.





Did you recognize the couch in the pictures? :)

Whew!  I don't know about you, but I feel MUCH better now that we are up to date!  I have been avoiding blogging because there was just too much to share.  Also, the one topic I didn't address is Nolan.  He continues to struggle with daily headaches and nausea.  I had so hoped that this summer would bring great relief for him, but this dark cloud seems to follow us wherever we go.  That's a discussion for a different day.  For today, I wanted to tell you about the rest of life that's been going on around here.  Until next time!

Jessica