Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pictures of Summer


I wish those were words that readily described my look not my feeling, it is hot, hot, hot, in the wonderful city of Memphis. As many well know that when it gets hot crime goes up, same can be said for my little people (and people who are bigger than me) in our home. We have bickering, and fussing and crying, oh my (think'lions and tigers and bears oh my!').
I made the announcement that we were going NO SCREENS, for those of you who are new to Pike culture, let me explain.
NO Screens-\anything with a screen is off limits,cell phone(texting),
tv, wii, ipod, Nintendo DS, get the idea.
I don't give a time limit, the limit is when I don't think you are having to much artificial input to give positive output I will slowly let you re-intoduce the little devices.
I require a level of quiet, I think most of the human race does, and I have a firm conviction that we have, too much input and no moving room for any anxiety or unexpected change because something is constantly 'on'.
I just can't be on all the time and I know that the kids need down time, too. No Screens is one of the ways we implement this. After the initial withdrawals, it is nice, even pleasant in our home again. We also slow down our speech and coming and goings, purposefully during this time.
This is just one of the ways we slow down and take time to really enjoy each other and at this season, teach the children about their and our limits.
Have you gotten quiet today?
What did you hear when you turned it all down?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blog Roll

Be not dismayed if you have formerly been on my blog roll and do not see your site listed, I am sorting things out and re-vamping a bit, you will re appear. The best way to make it re-appear is send me a comment with the link, so I don't have to go a huntin' for it.....thanks.

I have a few folks (Hi aunts) who have wanted to leave comments but haven't been able to...try it out now I have changed the settings....go to comments check the circle that says name or go to anonymous and just sign your name in the comment...ta have done it.
Go give it a try....NOW.....I love you.

I have added a few blogs on my roll that none of my friends will find surprising for me, but you may want to comment on the views that you read about or explore, by all means do so, talk about them, enjoy them and be kind, just like you all are to nice.
That is about peruse and have fun.

Out of the Box

Out of the Box....that was the summer theme for our children's department at church. I am a pro at out of a box. Sometimes I must admit I wish for a nice cozy box. A box that could define me. If I had this box, my answers to tough questions would come easily, the answer could always be,"because my box says so." I have no box. The family I was born into doesn't fit into a box, with the exception of my mother (who incidentally may move into the box where we will have to expand our idea of what even I thought was an out of the box experience) most recently my family pretty much closed the box. They don't agree with the way I decorate my box, with lots of children, a slim grocery budget, home education and the Church of Christ. My father's family more recently has helped me build an adult box, showing me again and again that their love for me and support of my dwellings decorations isn't at all dependent on how I am connected to them, but instead that God wanted me to be connected to them. My church family, has been supportive of our family, maybe in spite of my box, maybe because of my box, or out of curiosity of my box....I have never fit in what I thought was the church box. That is okay now, I don't have to misform my family, my children, or my sweet Donnie to fit in a box that wasn't made for us, all of us are different. I did a lot of searching through the Word and even more listening to others about what I thought God may have wanted in my box, I was looking for comfort, lines in the sand....Head covering, wheat grinding, skirt wearing, QF family, it was clear cut and without question, but it didn't fit and I did have to many questions (my husband had answers). I admire families with this AND peace, we were missing the peace, it wasn't our conviction, just me looking for a check list. Now, I love my Space. My Space is a less a box and more a way. I love the Lord, I am grateful for Jesus and I depend on the Spirit of God everyday in order to survive. IN our space, we laugh, we cry, we forgive....often. I do things I thought I would never find possible. In our space we sort things out with teenagers in a way I don't always know the steps to, we love our babies with a tough love I didn't want to embrace and I seek help out side my self. In our space you will occasionally hear swearing, share some boxed wine, but always say grace before dinner and MEAN it. In our space you will pray before you purchase and believe God cares about the occasional pair of flip flops and Grande Mocha Frappacinio with 2 extra shots to get this momma through a Monday morning at MUM. In this space you will find a husband and wife finding their way with out clear cut rules or lines in the sand. On Sunday's and Wednesday's (3 0r 4 other nights a week in the summer) one will fine us at Highland. On Monday and Tuesday mornings you can see us loving the inner city kids that live just a few miles from us and later on those very afternoons I am laying out in the sun with my kiddos, working on a tan listening to country music and being mostly grateful for our smallish city house on the other side of the tracks. Almost everyday you will hear us talk about our highs and lows, hash out seating in the van and the dinner table, talk to kids about their anger and attitudes, then praying. In this space, I will often cry of regret of the way I could have done it better, of grief from the people I miss or the pain of a past that wasn't always safe. In this space you will find people real, live like so many other people, with out clear cut rules or ideas, shaping a new way, their on family way.
Our space can get better, we need to seek more peace and less movement.
I recognize this space with honor.
Honor your space and quit trying to fit in a box.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back By Popular Demand

Ok, I have had a request for some recent pictures of here he is by popular demand. He is the baby (still) so finding someone to take fun

pictures of him is never a problem....I included my photographers at the end of the pictures (maci and martha), so everyone would know who had all the fun with DJ.

He grows more everyday and when I look at him I can hardly believe it has only been 4 years since we had him. He is a constant reminder of God's great love. He came along when we needed him most (but didn't know it at the time). He has, in many ways kept our family attached to one another over his short life time. Often when I am tired with the big kid set, I don't want to sit down and have a quiet dinner with all of them, I remember that he and Maggie need what the older four have had. He keeps my teenagers and my pre-teens coming home for dinner (even if it is just because it is our rule). DJ makes Zachary smile when no one can and he reminds me that inside Zachary somewhere is the 4 year old that adored me. I am firmly set in the preparing to send them out camp with my older kids, but DJ keeps my life light and makes us giggle. Enjoy them all in all seasons.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot Memphis Summers

Summer time Daddy 4 years ago

Baby DJ 2 years ago....
The little girls 3 years ago Martha and Maci picking at eachother and Maggie just watching the show (that hasn't changed)

Zachy and Andrew (friend) last year at camp, lip sync night

This summer with friends..... Sarah (12) and friend Morgan...

DJ faking out a summer time nap...and quick picture by big sister , bubble should say..."can I get popcicles for a nap?"

Summer love with Great Grandma 2005

Maggie Summer 2005- almost 5 yrs old

Summer 2005 Maci 7, DJ barely 1, Martha 7

Sweet Summer Time, that is where we are at. Laying in the pool, eating too much ice cream and the smell of bug spray mixed with sun screen, yummy.
I hated summers in Memphis, some of you may know that about me, until the recent years. Primarily, my summers were spent through out my life in Chicago with family and then I spent the school year in Memphis. The summers I did spend in Memphis didn't hold a yummy feeling, so when I started raising my kids I wondered how I would change that. I still spend a lot of time in the Chicago area most summers, but more recently I have done a few things to build great memories with my kids. Night time swims for the teenagers and pre-teens, late overnights, loud country music and request for a song on the radio, cooking out and homemade pasta salad bring me comfort now. Watching each one of my babies learn to swim, a tiny white butt slipping into bed after a long day in the sun, snuggling late with my babues and sleeping in make me happy. Getting a tan (after a long time without one because for many years I had all babies), taking long trips to Panama City Beach, Florida at least twice a year, sitting on the porch with my sweet Donnie and watching the kids catch lightning bugs, these are the moments that make me smile. The smell of a little boy who is more like a wet puppy and girls trying out a talent show in the front yard make me who I am these days. Who I am is mostly at peace. I learned peace in the summer 4 years ago when my world crashed. I had to make a decision, to ruin memories for my kids with my pain and current struggles or take a deep breath, pray, and play, I opted for the latter. It changed me. This summer I am in a place again where I wonder often how am I going to make it through change and dealing with some old hurts, but because I have these memories I breathe easier through each moment. I have traded some of my favorite music for my kid's stations, I have had to stay up late with the kids for midnight feedings again, only now it is pizza not nursing. I pray for them constantly not just for their health but their safety. Life has changed so much, but come back around in so many ways. Summer is a safe time, even a fun time for me now, making memories that are new, but so much like the ones I shared 20 years ago in Lombard, right here in Memphis.
Thanks kids. I can honor my past, and enjoy today.
Go thank your kids for the hope they bring today, and make a memory that is out of character.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

She Paints

Sweet Sarah Kay, Ra Ra, Sarah Now, little momma, what ever you call her she is the 12 year old that is my right hand in this house. She paints my life sweet....Last night I had a moment of "ahhhhhh", those are bitter sweet for me. Sarah painted Miss Marie's nails, our sweet resident grandmother who has watched all of my children grow from babies to what they are now. She helped welcome them into the world, she swings with them on the front swing, she band-aids there boo boos when momma can't or is to hard headed to think they need it. Miss Marie, catches kisses from Baby DJ in the front yard, cries over the lostness of our neighborhood while I rant about it. Miss Marie watched me loose to much weight when my life was scary, she hugged my neck and gave me hope. Miss Marie took my kids to VBS when I couldn't and didn't have the strength, she loves us as only a Miss Marie could. Sarah painted her nails. As I think about that I am happy and sad all at once. It makes me think of all that we have gained in the last few years and all that we have lost. There is part of me that doesn't want to be anyone, they die, or go away. My children have buried two of the most important people in the universe to our family in there short lives.... I think often of the time I am missing with my on family because of the damn economy and gas prices and I wonder sometimes, maybe wrongly, are relationships that are bound by time and space worth it. Of course, I know the answer, yes, but I hate the pain of missing people. I miss a lot of people this year, I miss people I will never see again like Don and Martha, I have questions to ask and things I need to know, like how do I raise this teen-age son that is so much like his father. I want to know how Martha made that darn near perfect sweet tea. I want to know why they were taken when we needed them so much. I want to be near my Grandma and Grandpa who bring me comfort when nothing else can. I miss my husband who is gone 10 days at a time with a new job. Bound by space and time, bound by these bodies that get older and steal the ones we love. I am not sad all the way around. I am grateful, I am even hopeful. I have a generation of Godly kids coming up, in a world that needs them. But I wish the people who I love and need could see it more closely. Thank you Miss Marie for letting Sarah Kay paint your nails. We need you.
I need to paint more days with memories and hope.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Play Dough

This week at MUM, we took some play dough (thanks S. Howell) among other things and so many children there haven't had much experience with play dough, another opportunity presented itself for these sweet kids. I must confess I don't do much play dough, sometimes we receive it as a gift, I get all OCD about the colors being mixed and the mess. I have even been gifted with the homemade stuff on a number of occasions by people I love, and that makes me sentimental to top and I just don't do good letting the kids enjoy it there way.

I hate a changed plan, last night I had the idea that I would see my sweet husband by 9pm until around 11 today....crazy I know, but just a little thought of mine. The darn need for sleep set in for him and he didn't arrive to our bedroom until almost 3 am. He is resting now and the children are eagerly anticipating the time with him for even an hour before he leaves again. My plans were changed. I think that God has me in a spot. He is teaching me, molding me (always), but I am like dried out play doh.....crumbly, I smell a little salty, and I keep getting stepped on in the carpet. I would rather be like pliable home made dough (like my aunt Barbara makes)....then I could be shaped and moved, I would be the perfect color (that I chose of course), and when I was done re-shaping I could go back to my old blob in a zip lock baggie and popped into the bottom drawer of the fridge. Lord, help me be pliable, to accept what you give me in every season. Help me to be a pleasant experience even when I don't feel like it, help me to shape to the time and space you have provided. Thank you Lord.