Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who Are Those Men?

I heard male voices.  I looked at my husband and said, "Who are those men?  Who's talking out there?"

We were on vacation, my husband, myself and our two youngest sons, ages 14 & 16. No one else was at the cabin but the four of us, so hearing these deep male voices was a surprise to me.  I listened. A minute passed. The men kept talking.

Then I knew.

Those men are my little boys!

My, oh, my. In an instant I was taken back to the time, when my oldest son was 12 years old and I awoke to a man's voice in the house.  I was frantic for a minute, jumping out of bed and running down the stairs to see who the kids had let in the house without my knowledge.  As I got down the stairs, breathless, my 12-year-old said, in a deep, unrecognizable voice, "Hey, Mom."

What?  I demanded, "Why are you talking like that?"

"I'm just talking, Mom, not 'like' anything."

My boy.  There was no cracking of the voice over a months-long process of his voice changing. It was overnight. Instantaneous. Irreversible.

My, oh, my.

My now 16-year-old, my 4th son,  has had his deep voice for some time now, as has my 14-year-old. But something clicked inside me when I heard the two of them talking and sounding like men.

I see many of my younger friends on facebook expressing how overwhelming their little ones are at times. And I smile, but I also remember.  It IS overwhelming.  I remember when I had five kids in seven years' time. I remember when I had three in diapers at once - and I used cloth diapers!  I remember when I could not keep any food in the house.  I remember when all eight kids lived at home and we went through 16 gallons of milk, 23 large loaves of bread and five dozen eggs a week!  I remember baking everything from scratch, baking nearly every day, because cookies must be had and Little Debbie was too pricey for our family.

I remember.

And I smile.

And I thank our gracious God for His generosity to me in giving me eight healthy children, yes, even my little boys who are now grown men.

Overwhelming?  For sure.  But beyond rewarding.......this motherhood thing has eternal rewards.

My word.

Young moms, savor.  The time is flying. Savor even on the days you want to pull your hair out.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

33 Things I've Learned in 33 Years of Marriage

Today, my husband, David, and I are celebrating 33 years of marriage.  33 years!  Whoa!  It blows me away!  33 years & 8 kids.  I do think I've learned a few things and thought it would be fun to list 33 things I've learned in 33 years of marriage. One thing not listed is a given.....put God first. Put God first not only personally, but as a couple. It's only through the power and grace of Jesus Christ that any of us can love another in the first place.

Here's the rest of my list, in no particular order:

1. I don't own him.
2. He does not own me.
3. One spouse needing a little space does not equal personal rejection.
4. It's not about stuff.
5. Friends are important....individual friends as well as together friends.
6. It's not my job to change him.
7. It's not his job to change me.
8. "Even Steven," that old man who has to have everything evenly distributed, was put out the door at the very beginning for's best not to keep track of stuff.
9. Conflict is going to kind when it does.
10. Fight fair......keep to the issue at hand and don't bring up anything from the past.
11. From time to time, tell your spouse you like them.  You might say "I love you" every day, but it's sweet to also hear that you're liked.
12. Listening with intent to understand rather than intent to respond will add volumes of depth to a marriage.
13. Have fun. Life is hard work, add fun intentionally.
14. Realize that your spouse can't "make" you choose anger.....and sometimes anger happens, just deal with it wisely and with kindness.
15. Keep private stuff private.
16. It's never good to participate in spouse-bashing. I've heard a lot of that.....and I am happy to say I never once participated.
17. Showing respect at all times is vital.
18. Treat your spouse like a person, not a punching bag.
19. Be honest, but kind.
20. Don't make assumptions. Ever.
21. Smiling works wonders.
22. Choosing happiness over being right is highly rewarding.
23. Letting go of tradition is very liberating.
24. It's ok if you disagree with your spouse.
25. It's ok if your spouse disagrees with you.
26. Laugh daily...... with each other.
27. Sticking together as parents will give a family stability.  David and I were outnumbered by our kids early on, so we had to stick together or quickly be conquered.
28. Stuff happens......act on stuff without reacting to stuff.  There's a difference.
29. Be a good sounding-board.....let your spouse vent to their heart's content while listening with all your heart. At times of venting, it's best not to try to "fix" whatever's wrong; just listen with empathy.
30. Nurture a good relationship with your in-laws.
31. Let your spouse spoil you if they want. I'm totally spoiled....I never pump gas, rarely fill the dishwasher, never have to deal with spiders, wake up to juice on my nightstand every day, etc.
32. Spoil your spouse.
33. Getting pregnant is much easier than I thought it would be. :)

Happy Anniversary, David!  It's been a great 33 years!