Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Rubber Boots...........

This morning as I was helping everyone get ready for school I paused to watch Zeb as he put on his red rubber rain boots. I was struck with the sudden realization that it wouldn't be long before the days of his red boots would end...not because they had worn out, but because he would choose to wear them less in favor of more stylish or "cool" sneakers. It is bound to happen I suppose. I mean, how many teenage boys do you know who wear rubber boots?

How many years have rubber rain boots been standard gear in our lives? All of my little ones wore them from their toddler years until they were in about 1st grade. I have several pictures of 3 and 4 year olds clad only in a diaper and boots. That's more than 10 years of rubber boot cuteness! I'm not sure if I'm ready for it to end.

Zeb is growing so much everyday. I understand why women want to baby their youngest children. It's hard to believe that he's my littlest guy and to realize that all these milestones he's reaching, like growing out of his boots, will be the last time I will get to witness it in my children's lives until they have children of their own. It's a beautiful and sad thing all at once.

My kids are growing up. I remember the days when I thought diapers would NEVER end. That day seems eons ago from this one. Zeb is turning 6 this year. Six! That's almost 7 ... which is almost 10 ... which is almost............! ugh. Am I ready for this? Well, I'm sure I'll adjust to having big kids eventually, but I think I'll keep those boots tucked away in the closet when Zeb is done with them. They will wait there until there's another little toddler in my life who will love red rubber rain boots as much as I do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

100% Human

I have been known to have episodes of momentary breakdown. No, I'm not least I don't think so. I am, however, 100% human and being so tends to show now and again.
There have been times throughout my life when I get to the point where I can't mentally handle any more...whatever the more is...and I just want to literally run away. To escape. To remove myself from the current situation even if it's just for a little while.
I've been experiencing that same old feeling again this week. This has been a particularly hard week. Everything felt like a battle from getting housework accomplished to getting kids off to school on time. I even ran out of gas this week......I don't even remember the last time I ran out of gas! I make it a point to avoid that.
That day will give you a good peek into my week:

I woke up an hour late, dragged a cranky Zeb out of bed and helped him get dressed then rushed downstairs where my kids were arguing over who'd had more cereal and whether or not they had permission to do so. I asked (at 8am) if anyone had made themselves a lunch yet. All answered "no" so I busied myself with supersonic lunch-making while mediating the previous 2 arguments and the other 3 that errupted before we made it out of the kitchen. Glancing at the clock, I mention that they may want to get shoes and socks on because it was 8:15 (school starts at 8:30) which was met with a chorus of moans and groans and various freakouts by said children. After I exasperatedly encouraged them quite loudly to hurry because I still had to drop all 4 of them and all of their stuff off so I could rush back home to shower before I needed to be at the church to watch the 2 year olds for MOPS (which was met with stunned looks and confused expressions at the thought that their Mother would have anywhere else to be or anything else to do other than housework and catering to their little whims), my husband...who was off to a not so fast start himself...offered to drop the kids off so I could take a shower. That was probably the only thing that went right the entire day long. I arrived a few minutes late to MOPS and got everyone settled. The time ticked away and before I noticed, it was 11:25! I normally have to leave MOPS at 11:15 or 11:20 in order to be home before the school bus drops Zeb off at the corner. No one had remembered that I needed to leave early so I had to quickly leave my 2 yr olds with the 4's and 5's teacher hoping that would be ok. The real bummer being that I didn't get paid, which usually happens before I leave. I had hoped to use that money to get some things at the store while I was in town later that afternoon. Oh well. No time to sort it out then. I barely made it back home (breaking a speed limit or two in the process) before the bus left my kiddo on the corner. Next task: make Zeb lunch and put him down for a nap so I can hopefully get some cleaning done. He throws away more than half of his lunch while I'm not looking with the hope that I wouldn't discover his deception and would give him ice cream. Not happening. To bed, Fred! I usually lay down with him and snuggle and he goes to sleep and I get up and do whatever I need to get done. Not that day. He tossed and turned and kicked and flopped for over an hour and a half. By then, I was frustrated with him and I was feeling the pressure of that invisible hourglass of opportunity running out. Irritated, I get up and decide to do laundry.......only problem is that now the phone won't stop ringing long enough for me to actually get anywhere with it! (Have you ever tried to do laundry one handed? While it CAN be done, it is certainly NOT easy) by the time I get off the phone it is time to pick up kids from school and head toward Pleasant Hill for Emily's volleyball game which starts at 4pm. (Pleasant Hill is about 20-25 min south of us on I-5) Of course, I have forgotten to bring an afterschool snack for the ravenous beasties, so now I am stuck with stopping somewhere and getting something. More money...OY! Finally arriving in Pleasant Hill after having to pull the van over and dole out discipline to the (yet again) arguing children, we file into the gym and find a seat. I am thankful I had the presence of mind (by the grace of God I am sure) to pack coloring books and markers for the little's to occupy themselves with while I attempt to watch my daughter's game and be supportive. Sadly, the team lost all 3 matches. The ref only had to turn around and tell my kids to put a volleyball away one time in the middle of the game, so I'll consider that a success for the day. Exhausted, I load everyone back into the car to head back toward home. It's 6:20p and I am due at the church to teach the 4's and 5's in 10 minutes. A physical impossibility since I haven't mastered the space/time continuum thing yet and we are still 15 minutes from Springfield where I have to stop and buy pizza to feed the once again ravenous children since we will not be going home before we go to church and church will not be over until 8:30p! Back in town again, I drive thru Little Caesars where I've purchased cheap pizzas (yuck)...but no drinks. I am pulling out of the parking lot to head to the church when the van begins to sputter..................then dies. It is at that precise moment that I am reminded of my mental note earlier in the day that I needed to get gas before I left Pleasant Hill or I would run out. The children begin to freakout in the background and I tell the older two to help me push the van out of the way. Thankfully, a truck full of men stop and lend us a hand to get the van out of the way until my husband (who carries gas cans with him for work) arrives to rescue us 20 minutes later. Thank God we have the food! It is now 7:45p and it seems ridiculous to even try to get to the church for the last 15 minutes. My husband takes the children with him and says he will fill in for me if they want him to and I head for the gas station. I drive home in tears.
There have been a long succession of days like this lately and I have had enough. I am tired. Beaten down. Frustrated.

Tonight was my last straw. We were expected to go to a wedding. After another long day of struggles and another instance of discipline at the side of the road, I simply wasn't up to it. I had no energy left to be happy for a wedding no matter how much I truly wanted to be. I pawned the continuously argumentative children off on my unsuspecting husband and abandoned everyone to go do something.....ANYTHING. Alone.
Tears. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Regret for harsh words. I was defeated. Beaten up. Beaten down. Wiped out. It seemed like everything was pointless. Then right there at the bottom of myself after all my Pandora's Box of humanness had exploded I came back to the only thing left. The one thing that's always been there. The rock I have pounded to a pebble more than once but have never been able to destroy.
Faith. If there is nothing else I know in the whole world, I know this: there is a God who loves me. He loves me when I do the right thing and all the balls are in the air, but more importantly to me right now, He also loves me when all the balls have crashed to the floor and some have rolled under the stove. When I have the dirt of the world on my face and my hair is a wild mess. While I wash the floor with my own frustrated tears. I am His first love. The Darling of Heaven is my bridegroom. I AM the bride of Christ and He loves me whether I am arrayed in the splendid clothes of a faithful servant or the mud-stained rags of my own selfishness. He loves me.
You know that place inside of you where you know that you know? Your "knower"? You can't explain how or why you know, but you do. You know things. Deep things. Well, I know in my knower that there really is a very real God who loves me. That is my faith. No matter what happens...........what shaking comes.......what battles beat me down......................I KNOW this. It is unwaiveringly staked in my spirit like a king's banner. He loves me. Nothing else matters in the end. To know and be known is all I need. He will pick me up again and give me hope. I am not a failure. I am human. And beautiful to a King of all kings. His treasure. That is where my faith is.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Taking a Stand for Jesus...

Yesterday was a wonderful day in this Miller's house.  Sweetpea became a member of "God's Krew", a ministry team of kiddos in the 1st-5th grade class. She also made the choice to stand up for Jesus and get water baptized at church! Pastor Anthony is the one in the tank with her and Pastor Elton, the children's pastor at church, is the one praying for her. Afterward, she went back to her classroom and some of the Kids' Life staff prayed over all the kids who were baptized. Pastor Elton said when he saw Sweetpea he saw a 4x8 sheet of thick steel. The kind used to fabricate something strong. There was a strength in her and if she allowed God to mould her, or fabricate her, into what He wanted it would be something of great strength. She can be strong-willed at times, but that strength would be great if it was surrendered to God. He also prayed over her voice; that it would be dedicated to Him and would be a tool to draw people to God.
A wonderful night! Check out some pics I managed to get of all the action:

her ID badge for her new ministry

Pastor Brad holding the mic for Pastor Anthony while he asks Sweetpea if she accepts the Lord as her personal Savior

a new man........or girl in this case

Pastor Elton praying for her

Incidentally, the water is usually nice and warm in the baptismal due to our kind Pastors adding a heater. Tonight, however, it was particularly chilly as the heater's element had gone out during the day and no one noticed. It made me wonder about the temperature of the Jordan River that Jesus was baptized in. Wonder if it was cold as well....................

Yay, Chickybabe!

Hooray! Chicky's 2nd game was better. They actually won one of the matches against Monroe! Here are some better pictures than the first game's.

Chickybabe getting ready to match up at the net against her pal, Rose, from church. Fun!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Go Eagles!

Chickybabe has decided to try her hand at volleyball this year as Harrisburg doesn't offer her beloved soccer. (Lack of coaches or interest from the students) I've been suggesting she try volleyball for a couple years now because I had a feeling that she would really like it if she would just try it. And she does.

Practicing hard since the day before school started, she is steadily getting better and better. The coaches have been working with the girls and evaluating them to see which teams they would be on (A or B- with A being like varsity and B as JV). Chicky had to perform or try out and get scored on her skills last week and found out she barely missed making it to A team. She was disappointed in the results (because all of her fellow 8th grade buddies made it to A team), but after a good cry, a talk with the coaches who said if she showed enough improvement they would consider bumping her to A team and talk with me, she seems to have come to grips with the decision.

She had her first game of the season last night against the Cottage Grove Tigers. Though the B team didn't win, it wasn't for lack of trying. She worked very hard and did a wonderful job of giving it her all. A few great serves and really nice saves later, she says to me "I think that was the best I've ever played. I hope the coaches see that too, but I also think I could be a really great help to the B team, so I'm ok if they don't move me up." *sigh* Maturity peeking it's head.

Here's some shots I snapped of her in action:

appointed team captain for first game :)

the mighty Miller's serve

"YES!"  nice point, Chicky!

 a little team chat mid-game

I apologize for the blurriness of my picture taking abilities. I will have 7 more games to figure it out :)  Hopefully, the next set of pics will be much better.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Classical Recital song birds...

Ok, so I'm a little late posting these videos from the Classical Voice Recital, but here you go anyway.

This was Princess B's very first recital because she just started her lessons at the first of the year. (I apologize for the sound quality....I'm still learning how to use the camcorder)
Here she is singing Longing For Spring by W.A. Mozart. She did a fantastic job and no one could even tell she was nervous.

Here is Emily singing the alto part on Ave Maria by Camille Saint-Saens. The girl to her left is Chloe Frazee who was also singing alto and the other two girls in the quartet singing soprano are Amber Staats and Carrie Pearson. If you didn't know it, I bet you couldn't guess that Emily is only just recently 13 yrs. old and all the other girls are seniors in high school!

And here is Emily singing her Italian Arts song, Lasciar d'amarti (Love's Bond to Sever) by Francesco Gasparini in Italian. She was the hit of the recital.

And as a grand finale, the whole group of voice students (minus a couple who were sick and one who was out of town) sang Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee by Ludwig Van Beethoven in both German and English. Emily is the only one singing the tenor part because the other student who was supposed to sing it with her had to be out of town. She carried it pretty well all on her own.