Thursday, July 6, 2017

Six Leasure Girls

Good Morning! I write to you fresh off the 4th of July firework selling madness! It was a looooong 10 days; I'm still not fully recovered.

Yesterday, I was overjoyed to take C to her sonogram appointment. I got to see our sweet grandbaby, all it's sweet, knit by God, parts. It's amazing to me how God does that. Also, we found out the gender. That is their story to tell...be on the lookout!

What joy it is to see your baby, look at the 4 chambers of the heart, the curve of the spine. That quick peek to know if you're buying pink or blue. (I'm traditional, what can I say?) When I was pregnant with Hillary, technology wasn't the same as today. In fact, I don't even think I knew she was a girl until she was born. All subsequent pregnancies, I found out the gender. My mom had told me that whatever my first baby was, that was the only gender I would have. She was right.

In conversation, people often ask how many children we have. When they find out, the next question is boys, girls or both? When they find out it's all girls, they sigh. What follows is "I feel so bad for your husband!" or "Were you trying for a boy?" or worse yet, "Hopefully your next one is a boy!". I always laugh it off and Matty always follows with an explanation that he grew up with all sisters, he loves having all girls. But, sometimes, it leaves me with a nagging thought that I failed.

Boys are so celebrated. There is a thought that after having girls and finally having a boy, you have somehow succeeded. You have somehow risen above and FINALLY gotten the gold. If your first child is a boy, there seems to be a consensus that your life is complete. Someone to carry on the family name, someone to "take over the farm". There is a thought that boys should have a different set of rules. There is a misconception that girls are less than. I beg to differ.

Let me clear up a few things:

-There is NOT more drama in our house....we are a family. All families have drama. It is not increased because of the gender of the majority.

-Our girls can out eat boys. Our grocery bill isn't less because we don't have boys.

-I wouldn't know if boys are easier. I've never had one. That's like asking if I wish I had octopus tentacles. Plus, I don't really care that you think boys are easier.

-No, we weren't trying for a boy. After our 4th child, a boy wasn't on the radar and honestly...I WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH ONE!

-Our bathroom is probably cleaner than one with a boy. But sometimes, it might be the same.

-Our girls are strong.

-We watch all kinds of movies. Just because we're girl heavy doesn't mean we're all rom-com over here.

-Our girls were knit together by the Almighty. Knit by His mighty hand with His purpose for their lives intact. Why are you sorry they're here??

-Our girls enjoy sports, mud and some even like bugs.

-Matty is honored to be their father. He gets to dance with each one at their wedding; he loves being their Daddy.

-No, he doesn't sit on the porch with a shot gun. We have raised God loving/honoring girls. We trust them. Plus, we're vigilant about who they're with and what they're doing. If you have a boy, do you sit on the porch until he gets home? No? Good.

-Not all of our girls like shoes, clothes, make up. And that's ok.




Don't be sorry they're all girls, celebrate with me that we get to be a part of their raising. Cry with me when they wander, rejoice with me when they return. Pray with me for their future and the stories that God is unfolding. Love with me when the great things happen....and when the sad things overtake. God has created each one, just like our grandbaby. He knit them together in my womb, knew them before the beginning of time and (this is important) PLANNED them! He knew their names....He planned for them to be born. Who am I to question His plan?? I don't...I just love them.

I am excited for Chellsei and Cody to become parents. Excited to watch our sweet grandbaby grow and learn and love. I'm excited for Reya and Piper to be cousins. I'm excited for T & K to eventually have kiddos. Excited to watch Emily, S and Harley's stories unfurl as God intended. Whether we have all grandgirls or some grandsons sprinkled in, what an honor to get to be involved. What joy to know that they were planned and created by a loving God!

My name is Erin. I'm 44 years old. I'm the wife of Matty, mother of 6 Leasure girls. Grandmother to 3. Mother to 3 sweet son-in-loves. The daughter of the One, true King!

Enjoy your day, friends. Hug your children and love your adventures!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Transparent

Good Morning! As I write this, I'm sitting on my bed with my dog. And his toy. Matty has already left for his duty as the Sound Man for church today. The house is quiet after our long night out. We went to a Bastille concert, waited around after until almost midnight and met the band. It always amazes me how God truly honors hearts, as He honored sweet Harley's wish to meet them. The things you think might not matter....those matter to the King of kings!

It's it crazy how we think we can hide things? In reality, everything is seen. We, as humans, think we hide actions, thoughts and even our disobedient hearts. We put up walls around ourselves and think no one can see. We do things under cover of night, in secret in the day. We justify things based on our feelings. Guess what! God sees you/me!We are completely transparent before Him. No hiding. He sees the sorrow we put ourselves into...He longs to restore us!

I have recently met a young mother who found out her husband had an app on his phone. Yup, one of THOSE apps. Automatically, she believes it's her fault. Maybe she's not pretty enough, maybe she's not thin enough, maybe she's not having sex with him enough. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe. He feels bad. Says he deserves to have pain in his life. They go to a pastor to seek counseling.

And this is where I struggle. He tells them that they DO need to have more relations. That that IS part of the problem....and that it's HER responsibility. WHAT?? His sin is NOT her fault. Why is it that when people sin, there's justification as to why it's ok? More importantly, how do I convince this young woman that her husband has to take accountability....that, while intimacy is important, it could've been the same outcome if they'd been intimate 5 times a day??!

I know how. I pray. I pray for God to give her wisdom and clarity. I pray for her husband to get help, Godly counsel and to be transparent. I pray her wounded heart heal and his would truly love his wife. I pray God's peace for their young family, and joy past all this sorrow.

Being transparent is hard. It's easy to put up a shield, let people only see the "Sunday" you. The "Everything is great!" you. I've tried desperately to be transparent in my life, in this blog. I am a sinner, saved by God's grace. ONLY by His grace. There is nothing else. The me you guys read is the me I am at home. We need to open up. We need to show our transparent selves to the people in our lives. Imagine how we could love and support each other knowing the things we try to hide.

You all know my past. (if you've read all my blogs anyways) And the truth is, by me putting it out there, others have come to me. They've come to say they've struggled with similar things. What a relief to know I'm not alone!

Now, I'm not saying you have to share all the dirt. That is between you and God. What I AM suggesting is that you pray about it. You know that uncomfortable niggle that God gives when He wants you to do something? Be aware of it....then be obedient. Chances are, someone needs to hear where you've been. And they need to know that God's grace is there. God sees you....ALL of you. You can hide from the world. Not from Him.

This young couple....well, just pray for them. My heart hurts for both of them. It's easy to get angry at him, for her. I have to remember that is NOT the attitude to have. Their lives are open, for people to see. Hidden sins come to light.

If you know the Lord, please pray for them. If you don't, well, He's waiting for you. He loves you with a passion that surpasses understanding. The only reason I'm brave enough to tell my story is because He gives me strength.

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. See you next time.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

WHEW!

Hello, world! Finally, my blog stopped telling me that I had to have administrative access to log in! Good Golly...I don't know where to start. So much MUCH has happened.

I'll start with updates!

Matty and I are doing well, growing and riding the roller coaster that is life! Savannah continues homeschooling...there have been some hiccups, but it's all overcomable.(my own word) Harley is finishing up her very last year at TVCS and is looking forward to attending Jr.High with her very good friend. We've decided that this is our experiences over things year and we're off to a great start! A couple concerts under our belts, a ballet and another concert to come. We're heading to WA in the summer for a mission trip. I continue to heal from frozen shoulder surgery...a manipulation and a small incision was all it took to take away my pain. Still working on motion! Matt just turned 41. We celebrated with friends and family. He continues to amaze me.

J and Hillary continue to thrive. He's got a job he enjoys and Hillary is still a SAHM. (hardest job EVER for the record) Miss Reyasunshine is the SWEETEST ever. She has the most darling heart and loves to make sure everything is alright with everyone. Piper is the sassy to her sisters sweet! That girl....she is something else! She loves her Papi most of all. I'm second. Can't wait to see how these girls grow!

Emily is working at the hospital as a patient specialist. While she enjoys it, she doesn't always enjoy the overnight shifts she often has. We continue to pray for her to grab a hold of God and not let go. She knows Him, He's just waiting for her to fall upon Him. We are so very proud of her! She flies away in September to visit her sister in Italy. I'm a little jealous.

Chellsei and Cody....THEY'RE HAVING A BABY! We are so very excited to have watched their marriage grow since July. They struggle a bit to find balance having 2 families to celebrate holidays with. I know they'll figure it out. Cody has the job internship he's wanted and Chellsei is looking forward to no more college! They both graduate in May. Watching God's plan for their lives unfold is such a joy!

K and T are in Italy. Wine world. She says that they're offered wine everywhere they visit. They (lucky ducks) live an hour either direction for Ikea. The pictures she sends show how beautiful the area is that she's in. They celebrated their 3 year anniversary in Venice. We hope to visit next year....she'll be home for a little bit when C has her baby, we'll *hopefully* visit mid 2018. We miss her lots, but enjoy video chatting often.

It's crazy how fast life moves. At our church, there are all these mamas who are so young. Their kids are anywhere from baby to 5 years old. They've created a "Mama Tribe". It brings a loving jealousy in my heart. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge it. I WISH I had experienced it! Here I am, though, on the other side. Our youngest is almost 15. In a few years, it will be just Matty and I. It's so crazy to know that those young mamas have so many years ahead that I've gone through. My goal is to be available to them. A different kind of support. I recognize that my almost being done lends a certain experience they may want to know about. So, young mamas, I'm here! Ask away!

God is so good to allow breath to fill my body each day. So gracious to allow me a wonderful partner to enjoy the rest of our years with. Life moves on, regardless of if we want it to or not. I'm going to enjoy it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Echoes

The house is quiet. Two girls sleep upstairs, 1 is in her space and the littlest is at school. I'm very contemplative this morning. As I sit and search my mind for the sweet memories of the summer, the house begins to echo.

The laughter of girls bounces off the walls, doors slam, heated voices from upstairs. The past is chatty today.

In my mind, I hear footsteps racing up and down stairs. I hear "MOM" yelled in a very loud tone. I hear arguing. I hear radios playing, sweet laughter and the sound of girls getting ready. I hear the dogs going crazy because the girls are playing. I hear Matt stomping up the stairs, the giggle of the hidden girls ringing loud. I hear coughing. There's crying over bad grades, bad days at school and broken hearts. There's laughter over painting windows, writing on walls and indoor water fights. There's loudness over shared dinners, friendly rivalry over games and quietness on family movie nights.
Someone's playing basketball, another is drawing and yet another is scurrying in the kitchen. There's whining over chores, complaining about teachers and fighting over clothing.

What a house...what stories the walls hold.

Our house is a small one, brimming with memories almost 10 years old. The walls are laden with pictures of moments. Each one tells a story, held tight in a frame.

Our girl flies away tomorrow. And while it certainly is a joyous event, cause she's married and all that, my heart is still sad. We're grasping at last moments, last hugs. I know it's only a few years....sometimes it seems like forever. But, really....it's not just this one daughter. We have 6....2 left to finish bringing up. The other 4 are adults, figuring out their lives. The time has zipped by. You hear that it goes by in a blink; you don't really believe it. Then one day, your youngest is 14 and you realize all you did was blink.

What a sweet time for Matty and I. Only a few short years and we begin something new. Our girls will begin to have families of their own (one already does!) and their moments will expand beyond this house. I envision having all 6 at the house with their families. What wonderful chaos! What a great God to bless us so!

As the echoes of moments flutter through the house and my heart, I am reminded that they are His. Only ever His. It is a joy to watch His plans unfold, painful when you know they aren't following Him the way He wants. Yet...they are HIS! He loves them more than I ever could.

Tomorrow comes quickly, soon to be yesterday. I'm going to enjoy today and all the moments it holds.


Keep your eyes up. His mercies are new every day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Decades Don't Come Easy

This past week my oldest friend was here visiting. Not oldest as in age (HA) but oldest as in 2 1/2 decades of friendship under the bridge. That's a lot of friendship. Also, it was my birthday week! In those decades, we have only seen each other one other time.

She is my friend that I can call and we can pick up where we left off. She's the one that I may not talk to often, but I KNOW she's there. Her son is a month older than my oldest, her daughter is a couple months younger than our C and her granddaughter is a month and 1/2 older than our Reyasunshine. Our lives have mirrored each other. We've seen things, done things, lived through things and grown. We laughed over our children and cried over their choices. And a very long time ago, she helped me escape. I am forever grateful.

Of course I wanted to show her everything from Idaho. She is from Arkansas, after all, and has never been further west than Texas. Everything she knew about Idaho was POTATO....imagine that! I thought of places to eat, things to see. I wanted to share with her everything that had changed since I left her neck of the woods 24 years earlier. It was A LOT. We ate at The Boise Fry Co, went to Idaho Pizza, drove to Twin and saw waterfalls on the way. We skipped church to catch up, watched movies and giggled over my sweet grandgirls calling her Miss Phylla. We laughed about her selfie taking skills (she has none), saw a fountain show at The Village and watched The Magnificent 7 on my birthday. NOT a happy movie, btw. We shared a cinnamon roll at Great Harvest, I shook my head at her love of Coke. (blech) We went and saw the "Blue", the fish at the MK Nature Center and people sword fighting at Museum Comes to Life. She got more free souvenirs than I can count for her grandgirl. The week has flown by.

She's missed her kids, her husband and her grandgirl. I loved the awe as she realized that Idaho is a desert and that we have a lot of corn. We warned her about the bi-polar weather; sure enough, our great state didn't disappoint. I introduced her to my children; she knew Hillary as a young child and briefly as a young adult. The other girls were a bonus and a whirlwind of memories to talk about. Our S tickled her to death and she wants to take Whisper home. The girls waited for my southern accent to appear; I worked hard to make sure it didn't.

As we visited, I worried. I wondered if she was having a good time. Was I the same...did she wish she hadn't come...was it worth it? Wow...the enemy seeks to steal joy. I didn't let him, though. My worry was small and I realized I didn't have to entertain her. She is my friend....my decades long friend.

It's friendship forged in a fire. She is a joy to be around, to giggle with, to cry to. She's beautiful and doesn't really know it. My heart is full and thankful to God. I was a young woman when we met, married to a man who wasn't nice. I am older now, life experience trumping my youth, married to a nice man. It always amazes me how time continues forward and things change. But it's in moments like these that I realize things haven't changed as much. We are still us.

Thank you girls, for this sweet gift of time. Bless your hearts.....(HA) I don't know when we'll see each other again, physically. I hope it's sooner, rather than later. But I know I'll see her again before God, dancing and praising Him.

I love you, friend.


ps...never leave home without your face AND your girdle on. ;)



Monday, August 22, 2016

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

It's been 3 months since I've sat down to write. We've had a busy summer...a crazy summer. A college graduate, married girl home while husband deployed, PLAN and PULL OFF a wedding summer. It's been, in short, CRAZY.

It's been nice, having all (except 1) girls under our roof this summer. They've slipped right back into the hierarchy that is sisters....right back into middle school. S said the other day that we had a system and it's been thrown into chaos. It's been joyful, scattered and full of surprises....and full of change!

C got married. It was a beautiful wedding on a beautiful July day. I had prayed for good weather....God is so awesome to have provided! After and emotional first day, her and her husband are settling into married life and adulting very well. (they might not agree)

K is doing well. Her heart wishes to be with her husband; that time is approaching! She really wishes all her people could be together in one place, preferably Europe. S wishes that, too, for purely selfish reasons. I mean...have you seen the fashion??

E recently got a job at St.Lukes as a patient specialist. She's had a rocky beginning...really praying that God show His plan to her and that she'll follow! In the meantime, she lives in the "trailer" outside our garage. To me, that is PRICELESS! I'm glad we have even that small space for her to call her own!

S is homeschooling this year. That is a major selling point in her quest to visit her sister in Europe. She can do school anywhere! She continues to be my advocate in sister tiffs and continues to be "snassy"....a mixture of snarky and sassy.

Our grands are doing well. Miss Reyasunshine is very sweet, here sister is very sassy. They are complete opposites and keep Hillary moving! J is working consistently. Hillary always amazes me in the way she is a mother and we are so proud of both her and J.

Little Bit goes to 8th grade after her 14th birthday! I can't believe we're done having 13 year olds. For all you mommas who struggle to believe the reality of children growing up, IT DOES HAPPEN! I think I'm an odd momma duck though....I celebrated when my littlest went to kindergarten. And I'm celebrating now....truth is, Matty and I are the family. The kiddos will come and go, but WE remain with each other. Anyways...H is still drawing and we are truly praying that God gives wisdom in how to pursue that.

Matty is still at the hospital. I am not working this year. The dogs are still alive and our household has grown by one rabbit and decreased by one hedgehog. (Bella lives with the honeymooners)God continues to work in our lives. I am so very thankful to Him for His continued grace. I am thankful for the way He has restored my marriage....it's not perfect and it never will be. With God, however, all things are possible.

The biggest changes in our world are good ones. A daughter visiting, a daughter married, a daughter beginning her adult life. Doesn't mean they're not painful. There are growing pains all around. We feel them, we see them. Our household has been shaken, the puzzle is shifting. Eventually we'll settle again, life will move smoothly and a routine will be followed.

God is consistent. His love is all encompassing, His grace new every day. His mercy abounds and His creation speaks of His joy. I am awed.

Find Him, today. He is everywhere, in all things. He never changes and for that I am grateful.

Until next time, friends.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lonely in the Crowd

This entry isn't written from a specific view point; rather from a possible "everyone" standpoint.

Slowly, I walk up the stairs. I enter with hesitancy. Will anyone say "Hi" to me today, will they notice me? Or will I slip right by as they chatter, a ghost among the crowd? Will I walk away today feeling like I'm invisible to everyone except my husband and children?

These questions plague me whenever I go where there are people. Church, school events etc. There's an unspoken rule that you don't talk about feeling lonely, that lonely may be YOUR own fault. But what if it's not? What if, instead of thinking that the lonely person should step up, WE stepped up and spoke into their lives???? What if I spoke to someone I don't really know but would like to know better. What if someone I'd always wanted to talk to asked me to coffee?! What if, instead of looking around people as we say "Hi", we look AT them?

We all belong to this really big family. There's hundreds of people in it. Yet, it's so EASY to feel alone, to feel lonely in the crowd. Sometimes, I think we think that someone else is involved....why should we get involved, then?

I try stepping outside my zone. I try stepping into others' lives. I try being a part of the family. Yet...I feel like I'm just outside it, watching all the fun from the outside. Watching as relationships get built and lifelong friendships are forged. And I'm lonely.

It's hard, this being a girl thing. I think as children our confidence is forged. It's an ever changing thing, determined by public response and encouragement or disillusionment. There are good days and bad ones. There are days I feel as though I have strong relationships. I'm not lonely, I'm not wondering what's wrong with me. I'm confident in who I am, confident in the woman God has created me to be. Then there are days where I'm trying too hard to fit. Where my self-esteem is low and I'm wondering why I'm not talked to. Where I question God as to why He created me the way He did.

It's an extreme, being lonely. When you're lonely, everything is bigger. Every invitation someone else gets, every conversation that's not yours, every time someone looks through you. I'm willing to bet everyone has felt this way...even if they won't admit it.

Here's what I have:
When you're lonely in the crowd, remember God is always there. His presence is all encompassing, His love never ending. His arms are wide enough for you, His shoulders big enough for you to cry on. Remember, He has EVERYTHING written. From your birth to your death, He's got this. Every relationship, every cry for friendship, every sorrow, every laugh, every plea to fit in. He sees the loneliness, sees the desire to be loved. He sees YOU. He sees ME. He never looks through me. He never ceases loving me. Never.

When it hits, remember these:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NAS) "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."

1 Samuel 12:22 (NAS) "For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.

Psalm 25:16 (NAS) Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted.

Psalm 147:3 (NAS) He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

And if you don't know Him, I encourage you to seek Him out. He sees you, He knows you, He loves you.