Sunday, October 30, 2011

Disjointed Musings on Becoming the Elderly.

You know, I sat down to say a little something sentimental about our trip to the pumpkin patch a while ago, and then maybe add a cute little ditty about Elk Fest at Estes Park and wrap it up with some thoughts and funny musings about Wyoming's Frontier Days. But those musings just aren't there tonight.

I turned thirty last January. As far as birthdays go, it was kind of lame. I had a brand new baby, twin toddlers and Caleb to hang out with. Ricky worked a twelve hour day and then we went out to dinner. I'm not complaining (okay, maybe I'm complaining a little), but it really just wasn't the big deal that I guess it's supposed to be. Big Stuff's supposed to happen when you're thirty, right? I mean that's when Jesus started His ministry and everything.... I'd say that's Big Stuff. David became king at thirty, more Big Stuff. I'm no Jesus or King David, but I'm a girl that longs for the Big Stuff in my life.

Ricky and I have been talking a lot about the "American Dream" lately. I mean, what is that now anyway? Is it still having a couple of kids and living all safe and snug in the suburbs? Because without really trying, Ricky and I are surprisingly dangerously close to that "Dream" life. And that totally freaks me out. I'm not opposed to houses, suburbs or safety- but that life seems very at odds with the Big Stuff that our souls are just crying out for in Jesus. Big Stuff like denying ourselves to follow Jesus- forsaking everything else in the world in the pursuit of our King. I'm passionate when I highlight those passages in my Bible, but is that where it stops?

I don't want to stop at being a passionate highlighter. I want to be as close to my King and His throne of grace as I can be on this earth. I desperately want that to be our American Dream.

I think that turning thirty has made the danger of settling for less in life that much more real. I mean when we were twenty and just newly married babes, what did we have to lay down? We didn't have any cash, career, reputation, health benefits, retirement savings or security anyway, we just had a lot of excitement and passion. But now..... I mean we still don't have any cash, but the other stuff is there. It's much harder to lay junk down when you actually have it. Throw in four precious little kids, and it's impossibly easy to let them become your excuses to avoid the rough edges of society that Jesus came and died for. Jesus touched lepers, but I will stroll my sweet Baby Jogger City Mini as fast as it'll go when there are (gasp) homeless people on the corner.

Man, being honest with yourself sucks.

All of that to say, I don't know if Denver is our last stop. I don't know if Ricky's always going to be a truck driver. All I know is that we want the kind of heart-pumping, breath-taking, battle-crying life with Jesus that he wants for us. Like when you're sitting in the movie theater watching Narnia or Lord of The Rings and it's all you can do to just sit quietly in your seat, because in your heart you're swinging some gnarly axe or sword and just ripping the enemies guts out and shouting some awesome victory cry. Where is that happening? Because (in the words of Liz Lemon), "I want to go to there."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

my greatest idea yet.

The girls and I go to Target and Walmart a lot. Like a lot, a lot. The two that are closest to us have those awesome three seater carts (Caleb calls them train carts) that actually make it possible for me to strap in all three of the little girls at the same time. I seriously love those carts- if I didn't know Jesus I would hook one up to the back of our Jeep and tow it home. It would make picking Caleb up from school lifetimes easier. It's not uncommon for us to circle the parking lot of Target or Walmart with Lotta and Jovie singing "train cart! train cart!" while I try to find one to park next to. How much cooler would it be to roll up with my own train cart? Man, I love those carts.

Stealing a train cart is not the greatest idea I have, though.

One out of every three or four times I go to Walmart someone asks me if I'm in a reality show. Seriously. It's weird. Maybe I look like Mama Duggar or Kim Kardashian, but really? I have four kids, not fourteen. Do I look that tired? That dramatic? But that question got me thinking about my own reality show:

Benders Across America

I figure we'll take my man's passions for trucking and our family, mash them together and we'll go over-the-road trucking as a family. So good, right? Instead of saving money to buy a house we'll buy a big rig with a super cab, build a ton of bunk beds into it and I'll homeschool the kids while we adventure across America- kind of an Ice Road Truckers meets Sesame Street meets the Duggar family. I'd watch it. It'd be a killer show.

I pitched it to Ricky and he said no because he doesn't want us to get divorced.


But I'm still working on him. So don't steal my idea- I'll find you. But if you steal a train cart let me know.

Benders Across America!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a really very super amazing and wonderful story.

We serve an awfully kind and loving God.

Recently a woman who worked for the DMV made a big mistake that could have really affected our family. It's a long, boring and complicated story and naptime is only so long, so I'll just stick to the juicy awesome details.

Last Friday it looked like Ricky wasn't going to be able to work for quite a while because his hazardous materials endorsement on his license was no longer valid (not due to any fault of his own- this is the DMV mistake of the last paragraph). He's a truck driver who hauls gas and diesel fuel, so it's a pretty big deal. I stay at home with our four kids, so if he's not hauling fuel.... it's basic economics, right?

He's still the new guy at work- he's only been with the company for about a month, and the thought ran through our minds that we could just not tell his boss and pray that it all clears up quickly. But that idea didn't sit right at all. Not only would he be risking a super expensive ticket, probably getting fired and possibly losing his license, but it's just not the King's Way. If you've read the book God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew, you know what I'm talking about. A long time ago when we both read that book, the concept of doing things the King's Way and absolutely trusting Him for the outcome was one that really impressed and influenced us. If you haven't read the book, you really should. It's awesome.

So we ran to Jesus. And then I texted almost everyone in my phone and asked them to run to Jesus too. And then Ricky called his boss hoping that he might have some solutions or government connections or something. He didn't- he was just as dumbfounded as us that this had happened.  So it looked like Ricky wasn't going to be able to work until the stupid red tape was taken care of.

A couple of hours later his boss called and told Ricky that since he can't drive on his license he'll be training a couple of the new Denver drivers. So now not only is Ricky able to keep working, he'll also be getting training pay. Whaaaaaat? Jesus really does bless obedience. He means business.

But wait! There's more! Trucker stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason- a lot of the guys Ricky meets and works with are like books of sad, sad, lonely stories. Which honestly is one of the main reasons that my husband became a truck driver- he shares the gospel almost every day with people who are really hurting. And now he's sitting in his gas truck training a guy who really does not want to have anything to do with religion or politics. Like that was how he introduced himself, "I'm Ron and I don't talk about religion or politics." And he means it- everytime Ricky mentions Jesus or the Bible, Ron tenses up. If you know my man, you can imagine that Ron spends much of the day tensed up.

The moral of my story is that Jesus took our DMV lemons and turned them into a blessing for our family and an opportunity for ministry. I love the LORD- He is just so kind.

Friday, July 15, 2011

on being awesome.

You know, sometimes I feel like I just fell into being a mommy.

Ricky and I got married after "hanging out" (our lame way of dating without dating) for several months and then being engaged just long enough to plan a wedding. We were still pretty new to each other and absolutely brimming with Awesome Plans. I was finally going to finish school after aimlessly farting around various colleges for four years; I had an actual goal and a degree to pursue. And then we would be missionaries to Indonesia. Or the Philippines. And we would be Awesome For Jesus. And we would Do Awesome For Jesus.

Four months into being married I was pregnant with Caleb. And I totally took that positive pregnancy test as the end of My Awesome Plans To Be Awesome For Jesus. I wasn't done yet, and I was bummed.

Eight years and four kids later, I've grown up and learned a little. But that attitude of being "just" a mommy while I really just want to do something so much cooler and more meaningful is still there. Especially when my day is consumed with people who still poop themselves all day. Throw in a six-year old who will track mud through the house no matter what, day after day after day, and life becomes me frantically jumping from naptime to naptime, trying to miraculously carve out a sliver of time for myself. I don't care whether or not I'm representing Jesus to anyone, all I want to do is get through the day without putting any of my kids on craigslist. (I'm mostly joking.) And I go to bed exhausted and sad that this is not the Awesome For Jesus life that I planned- really this just sucks. Have I lost all of your respect yet? Give me a second and I'm sure I will.

It's on these days that my sometimes annoyingly positive and insightful husband will say something like, "hey I read such and such in the Bible and I thought of you this morning." And in my heart I say, "how nice for you to get to cruise around in a quiet, air conditioned semi truck by yourself all day, meditating on the Word. Really. Great. Neat. I have spit up in my hair and I still need to clean poop out of someone's bed. My great victory today will be finding time to brush my teeth, but I'm just thrilled for you."

The other day Ricky brought up the story of Naaman, the Syrian guy in II Kings 5 who had leprosy and went to Elisha to get healed. Elisha gave him simple instructions- just dunk in the Jordan river seven times and the leprosy will be gone. And Naaman was furious that that was it. The instructions were too simple for a guy who thought he needed to do something great. It was Naaman's servants who asked him if Elisha had told him to do something harder, wouldn't he have done it? So why not just do this easy-peasy thing and be healed? Naaman does and he's better.

If you are a mommy, maybe you need to hear this as much as I do: God has not written you off. The job that you're doing is Awesome. You might not be in a hut. People probably don't tell you thank you very often. The sacrifices that you make day in and day out probably go unnoticed. And maybe the 'only' people you will ever lead to Jesus are the precious little people that you wake up with everyday. But God did not write you off when He called you and enabled you to be a mommy; and one day you're going to stand before Him and the "well done" that you receive won't have anything to do with the cleanliness of your house or your ability to get those abs back. I wish that my days reflected that attitude more often.

I really, really needed to hear that. How many kids do I have to have before I get it already? And then my amazing friend Tracy posted this on facebook and I was like "dang. that's good."

Mommies: Doing Awesome For Jesus. Totally my new club.

i mean come on, that's pretty awesome.

Monday, July 11, 2011

our rocky mountain move.

You know, it's weird- I haven't told anyone about this little blog, but writing about this move is still incredibly hard. Moving to Colorado was actually incredibly hard. Which is awkward for me.... I mean we were so excited. Are we having a bad first date with Denver? I really hope not because moving is expensive.

Really I just want to put up sweet little pictures of my sweet little babies in their sweet little clothes. But more than that, I want to be honest.

Remember when you were a kid and you would get all psyched for summer? Dreaming of cartoon marathons, lazy cereal-filled mornings and sleep over after sleep over? For me, my dad was a YMCA camp director, so throw in some ponies, ropes courses, swimming pools, campfires, star gazing and trips to Disneyland, too. But then summer comes and you've got chores and it's a hundred and booty degrees outside and all of your friends are on awesome vacations while you're at home flipping through reruns of the Brady Bunch, Gilligans Island and that weird Small Wonder Show while you eat your billionth peanut butter sandwhich of the week. And slowly you start to wilt and deflate a little.

That's kind of how we've been feeling. The great, exciting, wonderful stuff is still there- don't get me wrong, we love Colorado. But it's been tough going. Especially because we moved away from a place, a church and people that we absolutely love. Like seriously love- our friends became our family.

And Jesus has really been comforting my heart as we've been here. 

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me,
You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands." psalm 138:7-8

Satan is a sneaky jerk. And the spiritual attacks have been ugly. But standing on the promises of my Abba Daddy? Fabulously, Perfectly, Abundantly Sweet. He's faithful even when we're full of fear and doubt, amen?

cute little house.

cute little family.
No matter how awkward and uncomfortable the present home we're in is, we are always at home in Jesus. Like, for real. Like II Corinthians 4:17-18 for real.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

we sing. we dance. we love.

Ricky said he feels kinda bad for Jovie because all the other kids have cute pictures up.

I think Jovie's hilarious (and cute) when she's throwing a fit; she's my little passion princess. I mean you've got to chuckle- what else can you do?


But I'm supposed to be making things right for Jovie, and this probably is not what her daddy had in mind.

If you know Dominic Balli, you love him. Except for my Jovie- he just can not win her over.

It's weird.

But she loves, loves, LOVES his music. And when we get those jams bumping through the house- this is what we get.

My singing,  
passionate princess.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

how abundantly bendered.

You know, ten years ago (and more) I had some serious writing aspirations. I poured my heart into journals inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank as a kid, knowing that one day my brilliant 12 year old thoughts would be found and adored by another generation.

Still waiting on that.

And then I had what seems like a truckload of kids and maybe my brain's turned to mush.

In any case, this is the story of my unexpected and wonderful family.

 My glamorous,
 sometimes emotional,
 usually sweet
and absolutely precious family.