Treasuring the Moments

It happened again this morning. I found myself yelling at my kids. I know, I know….full-time missionaries aren’t supposed to yell at their kids (not sure who said that but it sure is the lie Satan tells me). I had a million things on my to-do list. Ed was hurrying out the door and unable to help. Two kids were bickering and pushing and biting and who knows what else. One kid was sassing and talking back and having major attitude because they didn’t want to do their “school work.” I felt like everyone and everything was in my way and not cooperating and didn’t they know I had stuff to do. And so I did it. I yelled. At everyone. And then, the perfectionist, wanting-to-love-them-like-Jesus-does, momma inside of me felt so guilty.

With only a week and a half of school, I want to savor the days with them. When I think that next year my oldest will turn 9 which is half-way to adulthood, it makes me so very sad. The saying “The days are long but the years are short is so very, very true” but somehow I tend to forget that over and over and over. I want to focus on being present with them, cuddling and reading and talking and playing. I want to parent to their heart instead of responding according to what is easiest and quickest to get the issue over with. I want to really disciple them like Jesus has called me to do instead of treating them like they are just one more task in my already busy day. But it is hard. So very hard. This parenting thing is not for the faint of heart and is so very, very sanctifying.

I have to remember that there will be times when things go really smooth and I look over at them playing all calmly together and think “my cup is overflowing with thankfulness for these little blessings” but then there will be other times when lunch doesn’t get fixed until 12:30 because we had two kids who needed to be disciplined, another who spilled the cup of water left on the table, and another who just didn’t quite make it to the potty causing a river to clean up (true story for our lives just today). And its okay. Things will get done. I will stop running a marathon and sweating and be able to eat lunch before 4. And things may not get done on my to-do list. And its all okay. This is a season that I need to savor no matter what the day brings instead of wishing it all away.

These are the things I am praying, pondering, and trusting Jesus for today.

Gearing Up

The craziness officially begins this next week. Club fairs, move ins, survey tables, weekly meetings, discipleship, followup from surveys, etc. will all begin THIS WEEK. My friend Linsey made this comment explaining her excitement for students this coming year and I love it – “They might not know that He is going to change their lives while in college. They have no idea that these next few years are going to shape them- and that the decisions they make while in college affect the rest of their lives. These students might think that they are going to live a typical college life- but for some, their stories will be different.” While we are expectant and excited to see what God is going to do, we are so very thankful for this past week.

This past Sunday, we loaded up our family in a rental van and drove 2.5 hours to East Hampton, NY to join the rest of our team on a staff retreat. There, we enjoyed time connecting with each other, catching up on our summers, encouraging each other by sharing what God has been teaching us, relaxing together, and spending time with Jesus. We spent time at the beach and in the pool and cooked meals together in our rental house and played games. I love our team that feels like family to us! It was also really fun to say that we have been to “The Hamptons” – I was in complete shock as I counted the number of “nice cars” we passed…and by nice, we are talking about Range Rovers and Porsches and Ferraris and Teslas and Lexus’ – seriously insane. Another fun thing about our time is that we got to celebrate the birthday of our new team member – Kathia!  This is an answer to prayer on so many levels – to have more laborers, to have more laborers who don’t look like us, and to have more laborers who don’t look like us who can identify with college-aged students.

Then, this week, we started our beginning of the year planning meetings to get things lined up and set up for the school year. I am so thankful to great babysitters who enable the moms to be a part of this! It was super encouraging to talk about what we are trusting God for as a Queens team!

Last weekend and this weekend, we decided to venture into Manhattan to enjoy what the city has to offer. Last year, we were told by a friend and ministry partner about this place that is only open during the summer called the Magnum store. Last weekend, we traveled to the Magnum store and created our own Magnum bars. They were delicious!  However, the train ride with Brynn was pretty rough and there was lots of complaining from the walkers about being tired and how much longer we had to go. Ed and I knew to give them all lots of grace as we were all transitioning into the city and even for us, getting used to walking again and subway commutes and even traveling to 4 grocery stores to get all we need has been an adjustment for sure.

This weekend, we decided to travel to Park Avenue where we had heard that for a few Saturdays this month, they shut it down to car traffic and they have things set up all along the way, like booths for vendors and kids fitness area and food samples. The kids had a great time getting free applesauce pouches and running the kid’s obstacle race. Afterwards, we got hot chocolate, went to the American Doll store and Nintendo store, and saw where they were going to be hosting the MTV Video Music awards. It was a very relaxed and fun morning in the city and the kids did SOOOO much better. No breakdowns, kids asking to play on our phone, or bugging us about too much walking. It was such a breath of fresh air to have a laid-back and fun morning exploring this city that we love.

Here are a few fun pictures from the last week here. – scooter riding to the store in our neighborhood, Blake riding his new “big boy” bike at a local park, and Blake trying out a new hairstyle.

The kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, so it will be interesting navigating campus start ups and staff meetings while having them all home. Our hope is that we can take them to some things on campus, I will stay home with them some instead of participating in start of the year things, and that we will be able to hire sitters to help us. More updates to come on how God moves!


We are back!!!

The final 10 days of our trip in Raleigh/Fuquay Varina flew by!  In 10 days, we had over 20 meetings, both church presentations and personal meetings with current and potentially new ministry partners!  We split our stay between two families who graciously agreed to host our family of 6 and we were so thankful that not only did it go smoothly, it was very life-giving for both us and our kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who met with us, hosted us, fed us, and prayed for us.

While there are so many things I love about having an 18 month old, flying, eating out at restaurants, sleeping in new places, and riding in the car long distances are not them. Case in point – on our return flight, after playing with Play-doh, eating 4 different snacks, watching two different types of TV shows, playing with the shape shorter, coloring, and going back and forth between her dad and I, Brynn was just done. Tired and done. Did I say tired and done?

She screamed for the last 15 minutes of our flight – not whimpered or cried on and off but screamed bloody murder complete with whipping of all body parts that could whip. People were holding their hands over their ears. People were staring. Mommy, who definitely struggles with people-pleasing and knows how bad people talk about those parents whose kid won’t stop screaming, was straight up embarrassed. When we got our chance to leave the plane, you can bet I was doing just that and fast-like. Ed grabbed my backpack, I jetted off the plane, and we met outside the gate. Thank you to the sweet people behind us who stopped outside the gate just to say that we did a good job with her and that anyone who is parents can understand and empathize and that those who can’t empathize can just get over it….your words helped calm my frazzled nerves a bit. We grab our bags at baggage claim (complete with me asking Ed “Did anyone from our flight see you and say anything to you while they were getting their bags”) and then wait for an Uber that can fit our massive load of bags (meanwhile the screaming baby is now asleep…couldn’t that have happened earlier?” and we head home.

Once home, I realize something major. I forgot to tell Ed to grab my phone which was in the back of the seat of the plane. Uh-oh. Big uh-oh. Like multiple hundreds of dollars uh-oh. We call, file a report, pray, but doubt we will ever see it again. Last night, Ed went to Apple to get me a new-to-me older phone and after getting it all hooked up today, we get a phone call. They found my phone!! Seriously!! Praise God!! Ed went back to LaGuardia today, picked it up, we returned the new one, and we are back in business.

It feels good but yet so weird to be back in the city after being gone a month. There was lots of complaining as we walked a mile to meet some friends at a playground today (gotta get used to city legs again) and as we all poured sweat in the heat and humidity that never seems to end. But I love playing at a park and looking around and realizing only one other mom looks like me. I love getting to interact with friends who have become so dear to me. I love being able to smile and wave at our doorman and hear him say “Hey, wait, you have been gone a long time – glad to have you back!”. I love hearing the honks, the trains, the ice cream trucks, the road construction. It feels so good to be home in this city that we are learning to love.