Saturday, June 25, 2011

love deeply

I had an ah ha! moment this morning.  I didn't discover anything new or invent something that will improve your life.  Matter of fact, I simply realized something that some eloquent speaking, deep thinking, smarty pants has probably already published.  But it was eye opening for me.

Have you ever opened your heart and soul to someone?  Really let her into those dark, fragile places?  Have you ever loved someone so deeply that if your love was the ocean it would be a dark, rich blue?

I realized this morning that the more deeply you love someone and the more you invest in a relationship, the greater the stakes.  The more you have to lose.  But the the payoff on your investment is so much greater and the reward so much richer.  I guess that makes love a calculated risk.  I've seen my fair share of harsh heartache.  But I've also experienced such incredible dividends on some of my investments.  It's important to count the cost but, without some risk, you will never experience such rich rewards.

My new favorite photo...
There are years and years of investment and rewards behind those smiles.  Laughter and tears.  Lots of hard work and huge payoffs.  God planted us in the same neighborhood 35 years ago and the rest is history.  Lifetime BFFs.

And just because we have so much fun together...
I know the composition (blah, blah, blah) of this photo isn't perfect.  One of my kiddos snapped it.  But I love the playful silliness.  or is it silly playfulness?  Oh well, it's just fun!

I just wanted to include this ah ha! moment and these fun snapshots in my blog book.  Thanks for reading along :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

wheat harvest

I grew up in the country, not really on the farm.  I worked for my daddy on the farm just enough to be dangerous.  Enough to know we’re a John Deere family.  Enough to recognize wheat, soybeans, milo and corn.  Enough to know it’s long, hot, hard days working on the farm. 

I’m not sure who was more thankful, dad or Michelle and me, when we had boyfriends who could work on the farm instead of us girls.  (This is my daddy on the combine)
I didn’t truly appreciate wheat harvest growing up.  It was hard, hot, dirty work.  I'm not really designed for such things. :)
Now, I love it!  Probably because I can just go watch and take photos instead of actually working.  The older I get, the more sentimental I become about wheat harvest and the farm.
This was Eli’s first year of working the harvest. He drove the 2950 with the grain wagon. It's the same tractor I drove during harvest.
When he was home at night, he dreaded going back the next day. BUT, when he was on the farm, he loved it! He felt like such a big shot.
I loved watching him work.  He took great pride in his work and wanted to please his grandpa so much.  He’s talking the talk now and likes to impress anyone who will listen.
On the way home from the farm on Father’s Day, Eli asked what would happen to the farm if something happens to his Grandpa Dan.  I love it that Eli has the farm bug and wants to make sure the farm is well cared for. 

My dad is the last male Randall in our family.  The family name stops with him.  Eli is the only grandson on my side of the family so we gave him my maiden name as his middle name.  We’re counting on him to carry on the Randall name and tradition.  I’m so pleased he gets it in his spirit now!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

all aboard!

I’ve been a Newton Railroader almost my whole life. 40+ years and I’ve never been on a train. Never, ever, ever. Until this week.
The BNSF had this very cool public service gig and offered a limited number of free rides on the train from Newton to Sylvia and back to Newton.
So.much fun!

We felt very safe with our local sheriff, T Walton, shooting people as we boarded. His lovely wife, Karen, was quick to work the crowd. We just love these folks!
Many of our local law enforcement and fire personnel were riding the train. I’m sure that was to keep the riff raff to a minimum :)

I learned a few things while riding the train:

1. Abi was highly concerned about a first aid kit being on board with us. She started asking about it almost as soon as we found our seats. She’s a bit of a worry wort and knows how accident prone our family is. During our safety briefing we were told there was a medic on board with us. Funny thing – he was called to our car for a little accident (thank goodness it wasn't one of our kids!). Abi sighed a huge sigh of relief knowing the BNSF had thought of everything. The medic doubled as the hat-putter-together-guy. These freebie hats were mighty tricky for us uneducated train folk. They must teach them a lot in medic school.
2. The bathrooms on the train are way fancier than the bathrooms on planes. I don’t know this from personal experience since I don’t do that kind of thing:) Abi has to check out every bathroom we came across in our adventures. She tried out this potty before we ever left the station and again while we were moving. She was so impressed! (Abi learned lavatory is a Fancy Nancy word for bathroom.) A wise tip from our trained train folk – don’t push the door in while the sign reads “occupied”. If you’re using the potty, make sure you flip the switch so everyone knows it’s occupied otherwise everyone may know your business.
3. If you have high aspirations to be a flight attendant and that doesn’t work out for you, a train porter would be a great 2nd choice. I’m pretty sure that’s what happens if you can’t make it as a flight attendant; you work the train. Here’s the cool thing – the aisles are wider on a train than a plane. That would make it much easier for me to be a train porter than a flight attendant, just sayin.
4. The snacks on the train are so much better than the snacks on a plane. They had more drinks and snacks than Dillon’s ever thought about. That was a major bonus for us! We had goldfish, rice krispy treats, fruit roll-ups and enough drinks to float the train. I’m pretty sure they gave us so much to drink so we could check out the cool potties. It didn’t work for me :)
5. The Kansas landscape is just so gorgeous from a train. The windows are huge and you can see so far. We would love to take the train through Colorado and enjoy their landscape. Things are just prettier from the train, I’m tellin ya.
6. Hannah is a total {little} boy magnet!
We loved our adventure on the train! I know we’re easily impressed but this was very cool. It gave us a new love for the train whistles and the kids loved it that someone else was waiting on us at the railroad crossings.
Thank you to our dear friends from church who gave us this fun family night. We’re doing trains, planes and automobiles this week. Our plane is taking us to Florida (woo hoo!). Who knows what kind of adventures are around the corner for us.

Monday, June 20, 2011

he must increase; i must decrease

Ever had one of those moments that you want to linger in for a while?
I had one of those moments in church on Sunday.
Abi was playing with my jewelry and entertaining herself with my pretties.
She grabbed my hand and just held it for a while.  Tight.  She didn't want to let me go.  And I didn't want to let her go.
I love it that she wants to wear pretties like me.
I love it that it's hard to tell which hand is hers and which one is mine.  Only the lines of age and years in the sun tell their story and give me away :)

And then I realized she watches everything I do and listens to everything I say.  She wants to be like me.  She is a lot like me. 
I want to be more like Jesus so she will become more like Jesus.  I want to be transparent so she sees only Jesus.  I wonder if this is how John the Baptist felt when he said "He must become greater; I must become less."  (John 3:30). 

I will always remember that moment when Abi grabbed my hand and hung on with a squeeze that said "I love you, mommy."  And that memory will always remind me to keep my eyes on Jesus so those around me can see Him more clearly.  My prayer will continue to be "He must increase and I must decrease."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

dads

I'm blessed to have some amazing men in my life.
I've learned so much from each one of them.  Lucky for you, I won't bore you with ALL that I've learned.
My daddy...
He taught me all about hard work, endurance and perseverance.  You must first count the cost.  If you're going to commit to something, do your best and finish well.

My step-dad, Ken...
He's taught me all about unconditional love and acceptance.  He's shown me what it looks like to prioritize family over anything else.  He has taken care of my family in the worst weather conditions when it wasn't convenient or easy to do.

And then, there's my honey...
He's taught my kids and I how important it is to work hard and to be integrous.  Equally important, however, is to have fun.  He loves fully and forgives always.  He is the hands and feet of Jesus to our little family, our church and our community. 

Happy Father's Day to all the men in my life and other dads out there.  God bless!

Friday, June 17, 2011

farm girl, really?

You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl.














Apparently, I've been living in the city too long.  I really did wear my good work clothes out to the farm for harvest photography today.
But that didn't stop me from hopping on the four-wheeler for some fun.

My daddy was probably not impressed with my work shoes.  Dir-tay!!














My racing partner - Shirley (she doubles as my step-mom when she's not on the four-wheeler.)














Yep, that's what this girl does on the farm!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

busy, busy, busy

We've been busy around here.
Busy having fun.
Busy playing hard.
Busy marking things off our summer bucket list.

Each of the kids made it to VBS over the first two weeks of summer.














I'm getting a major bleacher bum.
I love, love, love watching my boys on the baseball diamond.















I know I'm biased but my honey is one of the very best baseball coaches in this part of the country.
He's talented, patient and very baseball smart.
Ask any of his players or parents.  I promise, they will agree:)

More bleacher bum in the gym.  Hannah is honing her basketball skills in a summer league.














Oh yeah, and we've been eating blue sno cones.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

stop, in the name of love

This is certainly not a "Welcome to My Room" sign.
It's more like a "Sisters - Keep Out" sign.














Eli is helping with wheat harvest this year.  His favorite Uncle Ray sent this treasure home from the farm with Eli last night.  He's hoping to keep his sweet sisters out of his room.  We'll see how it works.

I'm pretty sure I heard the tune "Stop, in the Name of Love" coming from his room :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

blessings

We've got a new motivator at our house.
Just a few jars and some gumballs.
Amazing what such simple things can do to motivate kids to be kind and helpful.
Be kind.  Be helpful.  Be loving.  Be a blessing. 
Get a gumball.
When your jar is full, choose a reward.
When Hannah's jar is full, she will choose money to put in her savings account.
When Abi's jar is full, she wants to get a feather in her hair.
When Eli's jar is full, he will probably choose either money or a date with mommy and daddy.
It's not a contest.
If you say "it's not fair", you lose a gumball.
Other than "it's not fair", you can't lose a gumball once you earn it.
Easy, peasey, lemon squeezy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

summer bucket list

We want to be intentional with our time this summer.  Inspired by some very creative moms and families, we spent some time making our own 2011 Summer Bucket List...
I had to loosen up quite a bit and let my kids enjoy their creativity in writing the list.  This was a great reminder for me to enjoy the process and quit worrying about the final product.  My kids are excited about their summer plans and are very proud of their list.
I think I'm going to make my own 2011 Summer List :)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

happy birthday eli

My one and only son turned 12 this week (June 2nd).
I can't believe it!
I have said this before - his birth turned me upside down AND right side up.
My life has never been the same and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Eli is my "free spirit, very comfortable in his own skin" kid.
He's smarter than many grown-ups I know.
He's funnier than most comedians.
He's pretty ornery, many times pushing the line to naughty.
And he would give most any Bible scholar a run for his money.
Oh yeah, he's pretty cute too.
I'm pretty proud to be his mama :)




















I have always loved this photo of Eli taken on his 4th birthday.  It captures my boy - CUTE, CUTE, CUTE, sweet, ornery, farm boy, Mr. Debonaire.

Mitch was gone for most of Eli's birthday again this year.  He was attending our annual church convention which always falls during the week of Eli's big day.  He made it home just before Eli went to bed which was HUGE to Eli.

Eli spent most of his day with his other mother, Gina (thank you, Gina!!).  She is so very, very good to him.  They spent the afternoon on a farm and Eli was heard to say "this is my best birthday ever!"  That makes me happy:)

We had pizza and Twisted Cow for dinner.  Aren't these besties just adorable?!














Happy birthday Eli!  I love you and I love being your mom.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

summertime

School's out. 
Memorial Day has come and gone. 
You know what that means!  It's ...

Sunshine, swimsuits and sandals.  Need I say more?
Umpires at lots and lots of games.  Lovin me some baseball!
Miles and miles of walking
Masters - ok, I'm not really ready for the Masters but it's fun to pretend
Eli's birthday - I'm so glad to have a baby with a summer birthday!
Route 44 cherry diet coke, most delicious during happy hour :)
Toe rings + painted toenails + flip flops = happy feet! 
Ice cream & hot fudge - the calories surely don't count if we walk to get it
Many, many simple pleasures
Eating outside