Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Already Christmas??!

Wow! For a year that seemed to drag on, I can't believe it's Christmas time!

Last Saturday, we decided to go cut down our own Christmas tree. It was an experience, let me tell you! After driving completely the WRONG way, we found a tree. It's a pretty great tree, but very poky. After we cut down said tree, we followed the map. Which led us to the BACKSIDE of all things main road. We traveled a dirt, pot-hole filled road for what seemed like EVER. And after we finally hit pavement again....our tree decided to kamikaze half way off our car! It was an adventure, for sure.

After that start to our Christmas season, I thought I'd write this blog. Ha!

We set out to make this the "Experience" year. Little did we know what kind of things were coming!

I'll give a quick re-cap:

Harley: Going to a small alternative school. She really likes it. Her artistic talent is growing and we are constantly amazed by what she can do. She continues to tell others about God, even when it makes them uncomfortable. This is her first time in a main stream high school. It can be nerve wracking. She went on the mission trip to Washington this year; lives are changed through those! We are excited to see how God continues to write her story. She's a blessing and a joy!

Savannah: What can I say about this girl??! She chose to spend her 17th birthday volunteering at a concert. The band booth she volunteered at sang "Happy Birthday" to her. That was fun! She's doing well in her online schooling and is taking college courses. She went on the mission trip to Washington and, as always, enjoyed it. Right now, she wants to travel with the christian bands after she graduates in 2018. We're praying that happens. She still wants to run a christian camp; she's making connections and showing so much growth! It's an honor to be her parents!!

Kaily: Here while T isn't. They moved to Italy in the beginning of this year. She misses Germany. Her and T came to visit this summer. It was a fun time! (shadowed by Matt's back issues; more on that later) We got to know T better and that was good. She is happy to be here, but would rather be with him! Of course, she'd love to have all her people in one space. Someday, I'm sure that will happen! I'm happy she's here....it's nice to have all 6 girls around for Christmas!

Chellsei: She had a BABY! He's a sweet little one! Cody is working at a great job with benefits. They're now trying to figure out married life AND parenthood. Can not wait to see the adventures God is writing for this little family!

Emily: Working at the hospital. She works nights and weekends...lots of differential there. She moved into her place and promptly received my parents cats. Homer is a bit of a rascal and Waffles likes to be tucked into bed. Emily is still figuring out single, adult life. I wonder if any of us "adults" really have it figured out??!

Hillary: Raising those 2 girls! Reyasunshine just turned 5! and Sweet Piper just turned 3. Jeremy has a job in the healthcare industry and seems to really enjoy it. They are pet-less. Except for a fish Savannah bought R on an Aunt Ti-Ti date. Yes, Hillary LOVED that....HA!

I've recently started volunteering at Proverbs 31 ministries and I LOVE it. It's been amazing how God has used the studies that I lead to speak to my heart. I've met some amazing women and can't wait to continue in this exciting venture!

Matt is doing amazingly better. I still watch him carefully, but we both feel he is well on his way to complete recovery. Our marriage has been strengthened and we are more committed to each other than ever!

We've gone to multiple concerts, explored different back roads (not on purpose), went to the fair and just enjoyed each other. We've cried, we've laughed, we've yelled and just lived. We've learned, given more of ourselves than we thought possible and just mindlessly moved through our days. We've leaned on one another, pushed away from each other and truly, just loved.

God is so good all the time. I know nothing has unfolded without His hand holding us.

As we go into this final season of 2017, I encourage you to enjoy the adventure God has written for you. Regardless what may come your way, He loves you and is holding you. You are His great adventure; He delights in you.

Merry Christmas, friends....much love.

Monday, November 20, 2017

SO Thankful

This Thanksgiving week, I have a lot to be thankful for. If you had asked me this summer, I might've had a different thought. It's sometimes hard to be thankful in the middle of life happening.

But...here it is! My thankful blog...and the top 10 (or so) things!

Things I'm thankful for:

1) My husband. The way he can walk. The way he takes care of us. The way he loves me.

2) Daughters et all.

3) Grandchildren: Reya, Piper and Quintinius. They bring such joy to this Nanie's heart!

4) A warm house

5) A car that runs

6) Disneyland

7) Sons-in-law

8) Spider killing spray

9) A new fence

10)Food

11) Friends who texted encouraging words during Matt's recovery...every week.

12) P31 ministries

And God. Always God. Without Him, there would be no survival. He is so good all the time!

Enjoy your holiday, friends. He loves you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Falling after Summer

The summer is finally over. And I am so very glad. It was a heck of a summer.

Matt went down about June. As he sat at our dining table or leaned on our counter, I found myself alone. I did things with the girls, alone. I cleaned house, picked up his "chores"...alone. I slept alone. As his pain increased and his movement decreased, my heart hardened. I got angry. Not at him, at the situation and all the ways I couldn't make it better. We had visitors from far away lands and,still, I was alone.

I prayed. I believed and expected a miracle. I cried. I yelled and whispered. I took care of everyone. And it seemed like no one took care of me. Matt got worse, I got more "wall" like. I couldn't talk about any of it...I had to be strong for those around me. Me time was a thing of the past. It was hard to see my strong husband so weak. And it was hard for him to be weak. It was hard for him to see me so alone, to stay home as we went out and about and did things he couldn't be a part of. He was alone.

Then Matt had his first surgery. He rebounded well. Life began to look normal. And then....it didn't. He went down again. And this time, I did get mad at him. I knew it wasn't his fault; I was just angry. My birthday came and went; the trip we planned was taken without him. People told me to remember the miracle God had already worked...I did remember. That didn't make this setback easier!

Matt had his second surgery and I am happy to report, as we head into fall, that he is much better. I look him over every day, almost expecting the "other shoe" to drop. I think this time, it's different. I am praying consistently for whole healing.


I recently had the honor of leading an online bible study small group and I tell you....it was much needed! Every word I read was as if it were written for me. And guess what! The next study I get the honor of leading is about anxiety. It always amazes me how God taps into my heart.

I know (and knew) that God has Matt. I know His hand touched Him and healed him. I know He continues to bring him healing....I know He has a plan for Matt that is beyond what we can see. I am so very thankful that his job is waiting for him and thankful that God has placed people in our lives that helped with heavy lifting while Matt was/is healing. I am thankful that I had friends I could say things to and have them bounce them back at me. I'm very thankful for steady surgeon hands. I am thankful for sweet texts from a sweet, encouraging friend. They came regularly and always when I needed them most.

Things are returning to normal. They're slowly heading back into "usual". Chellsei's baby is due in November, right around the corner. Kaily is visiting for a bit. Our sweet Reyasunshine is having a birthday next week. And come December, we are visiting the Mouse House.

It seems like this year has lasted a lifetime. Looking back over the summer, I can see where God answered prayer. Where His hand touched us and took care. I can see where He held back and see where He bottled my tears.

Looking back, I was never really alone.

The birthday trip: time with my dad I would never have had.

Visitors from afar: realizing how we truly have become family.

Picking up his chores: appreciating how much he really does for us

His second surgery: answered prayer. I had asked God that if he was going to have another surgery, that it would be known and done quickly. It was.


God, in His infinite wisdom, has grown me. He has given moments to cry over. Moments to laugh over and moments to learn from. He has blessed me with memories specific to this year, things that will stick and things we can hold onto. I am more for it.

It was difficult being a single parent, the "banker", the heavy and trying to make sure Matt was ok. It was a long, hard summer. But summer is over.

Welcome, Fall. Let's be friends.





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.