Precious Moments

Remember those cute little plump figurines that were popular to collect? You remember Precious Moments.  I had a bride and groom one, a bridesmaid one, and a first baby figurine. If you are unfamiliar with this fad or under the age of 25 then go google it and come back.

Well, this precious moment was experienced two nights ago when Zoe got her book out for me to read a chapter before bed. A regular occurrence that sometimes after a busy day a mom wants to rush or omit. Until you remember they aren’t going to be nine forever.  The book of the week is Clementine. A classic, funny, read aloud and as I began reading where we left off the night before, Blaire popped into the room. She curled up on Zoe’s bed and they both snuggled in for a bedtime story. Sometimes our kids pull out the old Green Eggs and Ham or a Fairy Tale to be read and it feels like the 100th time. I was always a fan of when they graduated to chapter books. Something entertaining for both of us, you could say. This was a classic I remember from when Blaire and Jacob were little. I do love to read out loud to kids. One by one they are growing up and getting married and I feel like it’s deja vu. This is not a complaint one bit. Today I’m full of nostalgia. Full of reminiscing and enjoying it. I don’t hate that Blaire isn’t going to live here anymore. I will miss it but she’s ready to fly off the branch. Away from mamas nest. She is confident and secure and yet reliant on Jesus in a way that makes any mother proud. She isn’t leaving us and can still join in on a story-time or two. So yes, I choked back a few tears this night. I tried to read without cracking my voice. I want her to know I’m good with the new change. 

It’s Zoe, that’s more difficult to understand. She doesn’t cry much or show much emotion and although she’s excited to be a bridesmaid in one day she still tacks on, ‘I hate that I’m missing field day though’. Yes, Friday, May 31 has been deemed Blaire and James’s wedding day for a year now but field day is important to my third grader too. Maybe when she’s older she will grasp the love she has experienced by her sister. Blaire, at the age of 8, wrote in a journal, ‘I wish I had a younger sister’. Her wish came true through a series of miracles and now Blaire gets to have her sister join her sister in law and the best friends a girl could ask for, to stand up and support her on her long awaited wedding day. 

This mom is a big fan. I don’t think I needed to write this blog to convince myself. No, I will allow myself to feel all the feels. (advice from my sister in law.) I don’t want to be a blubbering mess but when someone texts me ‘I’m praying for you’ I get choked up. When we listen to a special chosen wedding song I get choked up. And when I picture my husband walking his baby girl down the aisle… well, I’m a bit of a mess right now. I’ve heard it said that you can’t prepare yourself for these kinds of moments. Someone also asked me if it’s different this time with Blaire as it was for Jacob. No, it’s the same. You love your kids so much and train them up to be strong and God fearing adults. You pray that they surround themselves with good people and then you let go. That’s where faith comes in. They have always been in God’s hands but under our roof. I think the biggest gift we can give our children is our blessing. 

I was reading in an old journal I wrote on Blaire’s second birthday, nearly 19 years ago; 

‘Today Blaire is 2!   My little one is 2! I can’t believe it.  She’s not a terrible two although she’s very independent and stubborn.  She is starting to play with Jacob and she loves the attention.  I thank God for her.  I want us to be friends.’

This has been a precious journey. Can’t wait to read chapter 2. 

Real words by Zoe: dated this morning…  “I don’t have any tears unless you’re doing my hair”

Thank God it’s May

I have been complaining about the Spring we have been experiencing here in Michigan.    The good I see today is that I’ve noticed that we can see the sunrise from our bed.  We sleep with the windows open so the crisp air and soundtrack of chirping birds have coupled up to wake me in time to catch a glimpse of the beautiful colors painted in the sky. This morning I can see a pale yellow with a strip of tangerine, pale blue and then an unusual violet color to top off the beauty. We just might have a sunshiney May day. Rainy, damp days have been the norm of late and even though I try not to allow the weather to dictate my mood, spring in Michigan does that for me. Winter is a given. Lucky if the snow and cold waits until November to rear its ugly head but the snow and cold comes and I’m ready for it.  Lately though, we don’t get very nice Aprils. Hence the option of heading south for Spring Break.   

Tomorrow is my anniversary and I remember a week like this back in ‘92. Cool temperatures and praying for sun on the 9th. We did get a beautiful blue sky day for our nuptials. I love May. We said ‘I do’ on Scott’s 22nd birthday followed by Mother’s Day. Lots of reasons to have cake in May. Now we count down the days until my daughter, Blaire, says ‘I do’ on the last day of May. This event might also be the reason for the high emotion in the Clode household. Wedding prep is everywhere. Running out the door for appointments and last minute wrap up sessions are also apart of the next 23 days. I’m happy for Blaire but sad she’s leaving. Without warning, a couple of her friends just packed up her things in her room. Her room has become one of the cleanest in the house the last two years. Clean white walls with gold accents with a made bed everyday and an organized, tidy closet. Who is this girl? I haven’t cleaned her bathroom for years. Her and her brother have had that chore to share since they were 14. My mom reminded me of how I used to love cleaning the bathrooms and always had a clean room when I was younger and still under her roof. Lessons and habits passed down the generations. I just keep hearing ‘well done’ and yet I can still have a crappy day and get snappy that there are too many shoes in the mud room or that my dining room table becomes a work station. Sometimes I ask for a quiet morning but am reminded that this house will be all too quiet when my daughter’s friends don’t meet here for bible study every Thursday night or when we don’t have 10 cars filling our back lot because all of Blaire’s friends are back home from college. I’ve enjoyed the flower arrangements we have all over the main floor since that has become a new hobby of Blaires’. 

I upset her yesterday. She read some advice marriage paper I was filling out for her and got offended. I wrote, and I quote, ‘you do a lot but maybe don’t realize you will be responsible to fill the toilet rolls etc. ‘ . She walked in the door and I mentioned that maybe some of her writing had etched into our table when she responded with, ‘ is there anything else wrong that I do?’. 

I was confused but we talked and she thought I meant that she never refills the toilet roll. Nope. Not what I said. She will be shocked at filling everything in her new house. Having to buy the toilet rolls and paper towels and everything that runs out. That is her weakness. A sign of being an adult is buying regular supplies and not just the ice cream. True story. And you might even start to buy the cheaper versions to save money. I hope. We all do. 

It’s never easy seeing your kids move on and I’ve expressed my feelings in many different ways over the course of this year long engagement. Excitement and love is mixed with sadness, I’m not going to lie. That’s life. My mother did an amazing job of letting me go. Raising me and teaching me to be launched into the world as an independent woman is what my mother did well.  The letting go part is key. Sigh. Eye roll…. and bathed in lots of prayer.  Now I get to do it.  To my knees I go….

Lord, you have given me the greatest gift of raising three amazing children. Your guidance and faithfulness, my mothers training, many other mother’s support, lots of books and trust have got me to this moment in life. Launching number 2 is difficult but you love Blaire and James so much and I know they are in your hands. You comfort me when it’s difficult and when the tears fall but this is the natural flow of life. I’m letting go of any worries or anxious thoughts. You painted the sky for me today and I’m thankful I got to reflect on where my life has taken me. You are an awesome God. Amen. 

Happy birthday to my stallion. 

Happy 27th anniversary to the man of my dreams 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and to my very own Mom, whom I treasure every year God grants me with her.

Many of my nieces and nephews birthdays are also celebrated in May.  

Happy wedding day to my precious Blaire Elizabeth. Can’t wait to have dinner in your home and I will be in awe of your very clean refrigerator. Xox 

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Broken Together

He looked at me with a sincere loving look.  A look I remembered from a time when we were dating.  ‘Babe, I want to grow old, rocking in our chairs, next to you.’

Son of a gun, this guy always makes me cry. Not in the bad way, either.  Celebrating 27 years married to Scott this May, just weeks before our daughter’s day of nuptials, and I still manage to ruin a good 5 day trip away or a simple date night. ‘We need to communicate better’ is my plight. Why do we women let things fester and build up in our minds?  We have had arguments before but this one hurt him.  I hated the look in his eyes.  I didn’t set out to hurt.  I wanted answers.  I wanted him to admit I was right.

Yes, I’m going through a lot of emotions these days. I thought I could predict when I’m going to act out irrationally but no! I can’t see it coming before I begin to hurt the loved ones around me. First,  it’s a snap at my 9 year old for not understanding her fractions homework, then it’s an unkind ‘teaching moment’ for my 20 year old on what goes in the dishwasher and what does not. Then it hits Scott. He’s been doing the dishes all wrong these days. I proclaim that it has been for 27 years but I like it when we have company and I get to sit with my guests and the kitchen gets cleaned. That’s just him. So I have to ask what’s my inconsistent problem? Hormones? Won’t go there. Some foot pain? Too easy. Stress? Ha! If you knew me, it’s not that. Change? Possibly. I actually don’t know the right answer. Even during an impromptu counseling session with good friends over for a home cooked steak dinner (cheaper than paying for the counseling, let me tell you.), I felt like I couldn’t quite express myself properly. It was nice to have someone else hear how we talk to each other, for a change. I’m saying a lot of words but they don’t make sense. I’m not unhappy with my marriage. I’m not going anywhere.  I sometimes feel like my role in the home becomes under appreciated. That’s still not really it, though.

Funny enough our church is going through a marriage series. I didn’t think I was going to be blown away with how-to’s. The steps to take away were things we do on a regular basis. However, what hit me this past Sunday was the song they ended the service with. Also funny since I admitted in two blogs ago that I don’t love worship music in church. But this song wasn’t new. It was by a popular christian band called Casting Crowns and the song came out in 2014. I’ve never heard it before or is it that I am actually hearing it now for the first time?

The lyrics begin explaining a painful relationship. This isn’t Scott and I. But the chorus hit me. 

‘Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete 

Could we just be broken together 

The only way we will last forever

Is to be broken together‘

I didn’t marry a perfect man. He will vouch for me and tell you I’m not perfect either. I hate when we go through times of being petty and when I stumble to put the argument into words. However, we always come back to saying we were meant for each other and we grow stronger. 

I’m not sure this is anything more than trying to fix every little thing that I allow to annoy me. Here’s some free counseling advice; Don’t make a list or keep score with your spouse. I’m so glad my Heavenly Father didn’t give up on me because I was broken.

I just realized this is Valentines week! Cherish the relationships you have now and right wrongs and be humble. We are all broken people so let’s be broken together. 

‘What gives our life meaning is how we are loved.’ That cheesy line is brought to you by every Hallmark movie. 

‘People who are loved the way we are are loved should have lives marked by extreme thanksgiving and laughter because of the mercy and generosity of our King.’ – Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick.