May the Skipping Never Stop


I was sitting on the couch one night recently with my daughter. We were huddled in our own blankets, watching Supergirl. She was watching intently and I just stared at her for a few moments.  Her expression changed with each event of the show.  My chest began to tighten and a small smile across my face appeared, and a slight moisten of the eyes happened. (stick with me folks)

reading book girl

The child that shared the couch with me that night, at times is still my little playful youngster while at other times little bits of independence make their appearance.  The body is changing and I see it, yet forbid it.  I know from experience it is only the very inkling of beginnings of things transpire in the world of physical and emotional childhood.

My thoughts this summer have periodically been of time to continue conversations of the “could be uncomfortable nature” or “she’s too young” or “in reality it’s not too soon”. Back and forth in my mind the role of motherhood is played out.

The battle of wanting her to be prepared in all aspects of life, yet wanting the innocence to stay at the core.  In the past year I have come to see how very differently we handle situations and honestly she’s better at most of them than I am.

I want to lock in this time for I know by next summer a whole new set of changes will come and I’ll probably be writing a post about it.  If I write here, hopefully I won’t be like the dramatic teenager I can be when dealing with her at times! 🙂

This is the child that has spent her nine short years skipping. She used to never really run but skip everywhere.  It represented a life of freedom and a go with the flow kinda mindset.  She still encompasses some of that, most of that.  But this year softball became more of a challenge and hustle was brought into play.  So running had to be done and well, she did do it, with some skipping too!  🙂

girls softball daughter

I’m proud of the kid.  She isn’t perfect by any means but she took on a challenge of being a pitcher and not letting it break her “skipping spirit”.  Just with the degree of playing the game of softball changed, her life too changes with each passing year.

My role as her mother I think is to teach, guide, and allow her to fly on her own.  Three daughters later and I finally  realize that having them make mistakes  while home and I’m still a guide is essential to their adult life.  Saving them each time doesn’t teach them a damn thing!  I apologize to my first and second daughters for failing you in some aspects of my parenting, well let’s just throw in daughter number three too! We all know I’m far from perfect, remember I said I’m the one that acts like a dramatic teen at times! 🙂

I’m better at this motherhood thing now I think.  My “skipper” is better today than yesterday in this thing called life too.  It’s not all due to me.  She has a good father, super sisters, awesome grandparents, a loving church family, extended family, friends, teachers, and many more that help us in raising her.

But as her mom, I get an inside view of what is changing, even if microscopic in her daily life.  A front row seat if you will, to seeing each physical change and interpretation from her mind.  Sometimes this is a blessing beyond my own ability to comprehend and other times it’s hard.  Super hard to watch the innocence fade a level and the reality of this harsh world smack her in the face.  

mother daughter grace

One thing is certain.  Until I take my last breath, I will sit in the front row, whether it’s comfortable or uncomfortable, right next to her or ten seats away.  I’ll be there, even when she doesn’t know it.

And may she NEVER stop skipping through life!

Love,

Mom

 

Stable Force – Motherhood


Spring has arrived and it came in with quite a lot of busyness!  Our family grew by a couple more humans via my daughter and son-in-law.  Our youngest turned nine.  NINE!  I can hardly wrap my head around that one folks!

As I’ve spent a few days in March cuddling newborns it takes me back to each one of my own daughter’s births.  All three had a unique arrival into the world, only two from my womb, but all just as precious.   I’ve also been reminded of the absence of my own mother.  She would have unwrapped the swaddled babies and inspected their tiny toes counting each one first thing!  She would have given advice from her own days of  being a mother to an infant.  I find myself doing that with my daughter  too, only I’m trying really hard to just step back.  Allow her to experience what she has before her, in her own way.

Mom and Daughter

I’m quite a bit more emotional than my daughter the new mother. Writing is a way for me to commemorate an experience all while locking it in, (for I know the days will come I’ll forget).  So, here goes.

I’m writing today because last night the simple act of dressing a newly bathed baby made my chest fill with warmth and pride burst from me.  And I wasn’t even the one doing it!  My daughter was.  Witnessing our children doing things in life always has some sort of effect on us, doesn’t it?  Whether it is a musical concert, sharing at playtime, a fit in the store, dropping a toy for the 100th time, or having them display their own parenting skills.

All these little nuggets in life bring forth different emotions and each have their place in our lives.  I think, in my own opinion, being a stable force in my child’s life is essential to a relationship.  Raising my children has not been always sweet moments with bragging rights attached.

There’s been times I’ve wanted to hide under a rock, scream from the street corner, and throw my own kind of fit! My hope if my daughters were asked they would say that Mom was there, even when she was mad at me or vice versa.

I hope I have raised my children with a good combination of love and discipline.  If I haven’t, then I think I failed as a parent.

(Disclaimer: I am not a parenting guru nor think that I am!)

MOther Daughter Wedding

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Farming Grace Daily

When I became a mother at 17 I knew nothing, although my mindset was different!  My first child was a practice run so to speak. 🙂  Then the second one came along and she was completely opposite of the first one.  By the third it’d been so many years I almost felt lost and quite unsure again (at first).

But as I sit here today I realize that the gold nuggets of this life as a mother are not always wrapped in beautiful boxes with big bows or grand gestures.  Sometimes, it’s just the act of saying no, using a somewhat firm voice, cuddles, or talking it out later. Or that the third piece of candy is fine or getting a C on a paper isn’t the worst thing in the world.

That stable force is built on combinations of strength, discipline, tenderness, and care. My wish for my own three daughters is that they are able to display this in their own motherhood experiences.  That the example they were given was worthy.  I love you girls!

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Julie

Beating Heartbeats – Visual Reminders


I sat in an ultrasound room this week with two of my daughters, the middle and the youngest.  As the little humans that my middle daughter is growing appeared on the television screen I couldn’t help but think of the sonograms I have had over the years.

My first was about 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. During this week’s viewing I giggled inside my head remembering how they put the sonogram on a VHS tape for me.  I was so excited and thought how cool is this!  I still have it, maybe we’ll watch it sometime soon.

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During my second pregnancy I had an ultrasound while they  performed an amniocentesis.  Talk about nerve – wracking!  But everything was fine with the little bundle of joy come to find out.  It can be a joyous experience or a scary one when having a sonogram.

Then there was those littles that my husband and I created in a dish and they placed inside our surrogate.  I have some slick paper photographs of those itty bitty beings we won’t meet here on earth.   With the outcome of that journey  the gift of motherhood to my third daughter through adoption came.  We don’t have any vhs tapes, dvd, or photos of her while in the womb.  All we had at the time  was miles between us and her, and no visual until she was 15 minutes old.

Then there was my first grandchild’s ultrasound,that was amazing in itself. Here we are onto the next set grandchildren (twins) and it’s just as exciting for me!

Through the years technology has come a long way to allowing us to see inside the human body.  I’ve been to two sonograms with my daughter so far and there is a moment that really takes my breath away.

Every. Single. Time.

Those little heartbeats.  The ones that are pumping away.

I almost can’t explain how I feel inside but it’s pretty amazing to me.  I can’t keep from smiling.  There is no doubt in my mind that God created not only my three daughters or my grandchildren or even my petri-dish babies.  His amazing power can take us where no technology ever will.

Julie

 

Sewing Generations Together


K, my middle daughter  had a close relationship with my mother.  It was closer than I ever had with Mom and at times I will admit I was jealous.  But my mother and I were quite different, just as my daughter is from me. With both relationships I can see more of myself in my mother than I ever thought and the same with my daughter and me. There were hiccups made along the way by all parties, but we never let that completely break the bond of family.

mother-daughter-and-daughter

The relationships we have with family, in my opinion, is what enhances what we are or will become.  Every occurrence, including family creates something to one’s life, whether it’s more of a connection or a disconnection.

My daughter is about to become a mother (to twins)  herself and in the course of her pregnancy we’ve become closer. Actually since she moved out of the house across the country six years ago our relationship improved and grew. (Sometimes distance is good for a reality check folks!) During those six years she moved back quite close, and  my own mother passed away leaving a hole in both our hearts, along with the rest of our family.

If you’ve followed along here at all you’ve probably noticed my mother was one that could sew, craft, paint, basically create naturally. I don’t feel I got that “create naturally” talent but  I dabble in sewing and crafting.  When I did quilt it was with my mother.  K. enjoys sewing and she spent time with her grandmother learning to sew and embroidery.

I figured out the best way to honor my mother, share about a generation that is gone, and give my daughter and grandson’s a gift to treasure was to make baby quilts.

quilt

At my daughter’s baby shower this past weekend I gave her the quilts, it was a surprise. This is what I placed with the two quilts I made telling the story for generations to come.

 to-my-grandsons

As my daughter read the card and opened the boxes I could tell this gift meant a great deal to her.  She didn’t say much as she isn’t a touchy feely kinda gal but she didn’t have to. (hint: one thing we differ at, but I still love her!) 🙂  I think my Mom would have liked this.

quilts

Just as my mother sewn one generation of love into blankets and outfits,  I  followed her lead.  Someday it will be K. sharing the story, making blankets, and loving her grandchildren.  I hope these are still around to share!

In today’s world, whether it is a family unit, friendships, any collection of people seem to be torn apart like a piece of fabric loosely sewn. The different personalities, selfish mindsets, non-respect, and many other factors from the outside word are participants to make this occur.

Folks, gather your people and keep them sewn tightly together.Weave a bond that even in the darkest time you are still united in some form.   For when they are gone there will be a rip in your heart and only memories to share. Let’s sew the generations together, shall we?

Julie

Daughters & Mothers – Resembling Oneself


Ever since my oldest daughter was little, we have been told that we look a great deal alike.  On occasion she truly loves this when someone calls us sisters.  I love that moment but her, not so much! 🙂

To be honest, she is 27 years old now and the moment it really hit me how much we look-alike is when this photo was being taken.  (The photographer was stellar and I highly recommend her by the way.)

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For a long moment I looked at her and thought, “wow we really do look-alike.”  I find it amazing that God created a child who resembles me so much.  That he felt the looks he gave to me were good enough to use again. The day of her wedding was one of the best not only for her but for her mother as well.

 

My middle daughter, now her, I see more of myself in her as she gets older.

MOther Daughter

She is 22 years old and  with age, although still young, I see her choices and actions resemble some of mine.  It warms my heart to receive a phone call about cooking, as I used to call my Mom when newly married about such things.  And on her sister’s wedding day I realized just how much of me is in her.  Not only her thick hair but her ability to lead and care for others in busy times.  The choices she made and the attitude of some things made me think I was seeing myself in video.  The love she displays in a manner that is not too obvious as mine might be is something good.  I feel blessed to watch this one grow up and become the woman God intended her to be as wife and future mother.  Her choices of things to be cherished brings joy to me.

PV and I

My youngest daughter may not have my genes at all but her attitude and verbal responses seem to come from my example.  Sometimes this brings dismay to her father but that is ok, it’s a good laugh for me! 🙂   On her sister’s wedding day I witnessed her smile many times, enjoy the “girly girl” part of being a Jr. bridesmaid, and help her niece the entire day.  This one, well since she’s 7, she still has a lot of growing up to do, but I’m truly enjoying the gift from God through adoption.

All three of my daughters mean a great deal to me.

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Each of them have a distinct relationship with me and that’s okay.  They do not need to be alike to be loved the same.  As each of them is different, so is our relationships.   My hope is that these three siblings will have as tight a bond and love and care for one another as I have with my three siblings. As one grows older they truly realize what a treasure this is in itself. Hold tight my three no matter the number of years between  you!

Raising these girls has made me a better person.  They are one of the biggest treasures God has given me.  I love you girls, never forget that.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Activity Options For Our Youth


8/12/2015

 

Activity Options For Our Youth

As school has begun it makes me start thinking about the things that are of importance to me and my spouse in regards to extracurricular activities for our daughter.  Up until now it has basically been church activities, softball in the summer, and girl scouts.  We added piano lessons at the beginning of 2015.

To be honest now that she is entering 2nd grade there are more options to choose from.  We are not parents that feel our child needs to be in every sport or club or extracurricular activity available to give them a valuable childhood.   So it’s time to begin choosing.

With my older children I encouraged them to try things and then decide if they wanted to pursue them any further.  To be honest by middle school, in the large community we lived, sports was not really something they pursued.  My oldest was more of the yearbook type and my middle daughter arts were her thing.  Our youngest is just starting to form interests and we hope to do this as well.

I think the main reason right now she is interested in girl scouts is due to friends that are in it.  Piano lessons, I desired for her to take and she is taking to them to some degree.   I see singing lessons perhaps in her future,  she likes music. The option of 4H is present come this fall.  Her father and I are still on the fence about this one.  More research to be done and decisions to be made.  Prayer plays a key in our decision-making as well.

No matter her participation in extracurricular activities, as parents, we feel the church activities trump any others.  I know that this will not be easy in the future to work with as today’s world feels Sundays are made for more than worship and fellowship.

Do we occasionally miss church?  Yes we do.  In fact, 12 years ago my mind was the view that a lot of people have.  Being in worship on Sunday isn’t necessary. ( For the record, my husband’s never ever has felt that way.  He feels you belong in the pew every Sunday morning) .  I now agree and he didn’t force it on me, he allowed me to figure it out on my own.  Which I hope my child will do as well with  the activities available.

The world is made up of many different types of people.  I feel that myself and my husband are more of the introverted type. Sometimes I wonder if that holds our daughter back from opportunities she is presented with.  I find benefits of both introverts and extroverts.  I don’t find one better than the other.  I also do not feel any club or sport is any better than another.  They all have their place and individuals that they work best for.

activity for our youth

It’s time to think, discuss, and pray on the upcoming year for our daughter.  Whatever the choice may God’s glory be shown in the choices we make for her and with her.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Children Buying Houses & Learning Multiplication


My life includes my children buying houses and learning multiplication all at the same time.  This happens due to the fact that I started my child rearing days 27 years ago and then 7 years ago began once again with a third daughter.  Honestly, it’s not the plan I had but obviously the one that God had for me.

Daughters

I recall stating more than once that I was done having children. That it was alright for me to have that hysterectomy back when I was in my mid to late 20’s.  I had started young and looked forward to a life of somewhat freedom when while I was still young when they were raised. God had another plan, a good plan for sure I must say!

Parenting is never easy.  I do parent differently with my 7-year-old than I did when her sisters were that age.  With time comes wisdom but that doesn’t meant I don’t mess up now.  The difference is I do not allow myself to dwell on it but I do learn from each circumstance that arises.

One thing I do less is dwell on a particular worry that I think took away from the parenting of my two older children.  That worry of “am I a good enough mother?”  I should have focused more on being present with them verses being consumed with how bad I was doing. Lesson learned and I no longer do that one.

Girls & me

My girls turned out to be good citizens, in fact I am proud to say neither one has been in trouble with the law.  Although, there was this one time, a public restroom and a young girl playing havoc with toilet paper! 🙂 You can guess which daughter it was and odds are you will guess wrong if you know us! 🙂

There are children that are easier to raise than others, we had this in our own family.  I feel that each child is a unique creation and have their own talents and restrictions.  They need to be loved with the foundation of moral goodness, manners, and God.  There is a thin line between loving and disciplining and children need to learn both.  So when they grow up they too can carry on good things versus the vicious cycles of not so great parenting.

My son in law’s will reference how their wives do things that remind them of me.  Usually it’s done in a joking manner but it tends to be on the “not so flattering” part of my personality.  I do the same thing with my husband, so I can’t say too much.  The things we inherit from our parents is not always heirlooms but instead words, actions, thought processes, or how we deal with circumstances.  If I could give advice to young parents or people who plan to be parents it would include the following but not limited to just these.

  • When you talk to a child get down on their eye level, talk to them, not at them. (I finally learned this by the time my 3rd came along!)
  • Discipline but pick your battles.
  • Let them be silly, laugh, and make a mess of your house.
  • But make them pickup the mess no matter what!
  • Be silly, laugh, and make a mess of the house WITH THEM!  Then both of you clean  it up.
  • You didn’t have children to be your servants.  Get your own drink, food, item from the other room.
  • Make them try the new food more than once.
  • Gather together and do devotion daily.  Whether it’s during a meal, before bed, in the car, or by the pool.
  • They don’t have to be in ALL the extracurricular activities, but they do need YOUR time.
  • Let them SEE you pray and HEAR you talk about God.
  • God gave you children, not your parents.  You raise them.
  • Date your spouse.  Seriously.  You skip this one it DOES make a difference in parenting!
  • Teach them manners and to respect others, especially their elders.
  • Board games. Play lots of them!
  • Read between the lines. Remember they are human but don’t have the communication skills you may.
  • Cuddle and sing!
  • Listen and look when they bring home a paper from school or draw a picture for you.  Really listen!
  • Guess what.  There is a lot more advice and I have missed out on doing the ones above and others, but as long as my kid still respects me, loves me, and is safe I’m ok with less than perfect!

My life would definitely not be the same if the girls were not in it.  I don’t agree with them all the time, I don’t pamper them, but I try my best to be a good example.  I try my best to let them know that I am here for them, I will be objective when they seek advice, and that I believe in God.

God had this plan for me to be a mother three times.  He knew exactly what he was doing and I’m lucky because my family has grown to include two son-in-laws, two grandchildren, and two very spoiled grand-dogs.

Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.
Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.

I still hate it when I can’t fix something for them but……one last bit of advice.  We aren’t placed here as parents to fix everything for our children.  We are given children to teach and love.  I didn’t realize them until my parenting was well underway that teaching and healthy love was the best gift I could give. So, I hope if you take nothing else from this post, you take that.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

The Father I Live With Today


This day represents a time to celebrate fathers.  My father is no longer living so I  chose today to blog about someone else.  The father I live with.  My husband.

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This man became a father at the age of 36 when he married me.  I had two daughters by my first marriage.  He not only moved in with all females after living with only one his entire life, but became a father figure instantly.  Twelve years later he is a trooper and there are reasons it worked well for our blended family. More on that in a moment.

The father I live with today

To be honest, my husband had not had much interaction or time spent with children prior to our marriage.  He worked in construction and was a farmer.  His only interaction was basically when his niece and nephew were visiting.  He grew up in a household of four boys so all things female in 2003 might have rocked his world just a tad! 🙂

I think part of why it worked so well is my daughters were already half grown and had an active father in their life. They were 14 and 10, so when we married things were pretty set.  My husband brought to the family a patience and quiet support.  He helped me make decisions but mostly he has been a father figure with knowledge most girls may not have the opportunity to be aquainted with.  He accepted his position and filled it with grace I feel.  I am grateful my daughters have him in their lives and that he respected me enough and them to be the good example he is.

The Father I Live with Today 2

In 2008 he became a father of his own child. Although she is not of his blood, he could not love her anymore than if she was.  He endured loss to obtain the joy of fatherhood through adoption and rose to the position of Daddy.  In my books he could perhaps disipline more but honestly he does so much more for her as a father than I could ask for I suppose I could make an exception.  🙂   Since I was lacking an interactive father most of my life the opportunity to watch my husband be a father has become a joyous experience.  The time he spends with her, the knowledge he shares, and the love he gives is good.  She is a lucky little girl.  I hope she grows up to know that.

So, the father that lives in my house is a man of many things.  He provides for our family, aids the older girls with questions and advice, teaches the youngest to hunt, play, farm, and about God.  But mostly he loves his family with a whole heart.

The Father I live with today 3

I thank God for showing me a different side to the man I married via fatherhood.  May he know daily how thankful I am.

Happy Father’s Day my love!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.
Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.

My Child’s Faith Life – It’s Not the Brick & Mortar


“I am excited for the new Vicar to come.”

Those were the words from my 7-year-old after we made another  trip to the parsonage this week.

Of course I asked why, just to hear her response.

“I just am and if you haven’t noticed I like to meet new people!”

Laughter came from my lips and joy from my heart.  🙂 I’m anxious to see how she is when our new Vicar arrives since she made her announcement!

Sometimes when my daughter speaks I cringe,  but to be honest most of the time her words make me smile.  I’m thankful I try to track these little tidbits of joy and document them in her journal.  And yes, I put the ones that aren’t so cute too. Yep I’m that Mom! She has to know all things that have built her character when she grows up ya know!

I feel comfort in the fact that we only live two miles from our church and that she is usually with us when we are doing work there, worshiping, or just having fellowship.  She is growing up with a sense of security..  A security I didn’t feel growing up and as a mother it is one of the most important things I can surround her with.

Church

It’s not about the brick and mortar, the building at all.  It’s about what she learns inside (and outside in the yard and cemetery).  The people inside bring forth knowledge I could never give her.  The religious leaders of this building will teach my daughter things that are needed in her life.  She will build strong relationships with the children she shared Sunday school and youth group with.  There will be  special bond between her and the Sunday school teachers.  The abundance of blessings from one Lord’s house is truly remarkable if you think about it. The baptisms, the confirmations, the Easter and Christmas Eve services, youth Sundays, and sermons that will cross my daughter’s path in the years to come.  Just thinking of all that will pass by her eyes and be heard by her ears is astounding to me and fills my heart with joy. But the number one thing is that God is present and when one or more are gathered it is beautiful.

I pray that with this path, as her parents have begun for her will take her through life knowing that God is with her always.  That a building isn’t the key factor but a significant substance in her faith life.  That she will continue her journey as a Christian in daily living. That the bond of believers creates the church body and the love of Christ grants her eternal life.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Adventures of Simplicity


Looking out my kitchen window the activity I saw brought a smile to my face. Although I had dishes to do and lunch mess to clean up, I found myself just watching.  Taking the time to take in the simplicity of a child’s play time.

I thought perhaps she was just messing with the plant and increasing her science mind, but as I wondered outside after a few minutes I came to find something else.

ladybugplaytime

My youngest daughter was playing with a lady bug.  If that isn’t simplicity I’m not sure what is.  She was laying it upon the leaves, moving it around, and the little girl was delighted.  She was just calm in the moment, only her and the ladybug.

ladybug

The lesson in this for me was that you do not need to fill your children’s lives with activities, games, events, lessons, camps, television shows, or movies.  Constant entertainment by parents isn’t a priority.   Love and care and teaching them to entertain themselves to some degree is.  If I had to guess, my daughter was probably content with the lady bug playtime and more happy that I asked her about it.  That I stopped the dishes and came to her to show interest in her life.

Don’t get me wrong, our daughter is involved in some activities this summer, but a good share of her days are spent at home at the farm.  We have daily activities we do such as reading, devotion, kitchen, and activity time.  We also have things we do alone.

She’s seven and basically an only child, her sisters are in their twenties.  So, she normally goes where we go and has more adult time than playmate time.  I think this has brought some good things into her life such as the life cycle of animals, an appreciation for cooking, nature, farming, and hunting.  It also means she doesn’t have a sister or brother to share with, only a niece.

Today just reassured me that my child doesn’t need the latest toys on television or playdates every other day, or parents that give her 100% of their attention all the time. When we grow up we have to make our own friends/relationships and we have to entertain ourselves.  Hopefully in parenting we find a balance to help her with those things.

Grace is a gift,

Julie