.....................................................one story may not change the world ~ but your story can change someone's world......................................................
................................................................................your story matters ~ live a page-turner...........................................................................................

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love at First Sight

It's the 17th anniversary of the moment when I first experienced love at first sight.

The year was 1998. It was a Monday morning, 8:28 a.m. to be exact. 6,205 days ago.

We didn't know each other, but the connection we had was if we had known each other forever. Like we were meant to be together.

I fell in love with all 9 lbs, 3 oz., 20 1/2 inches of my sweet baby girl and that love has grown every single day since.

Just look how this love has grown!!!

The McCaughey Septuplets happened to still be in the news on this day of Love at First Sight. But my world-news revolved around being mama to you, and your brother.

First few minutes at home, You were crying and your brother, Nathan instinctively tried to take care of you.
I think he has been trying to do this ever since.
You can love him or hate him for this. But it started on Day 1.

You have been an excellent example to the sisters who have come after you.

And as it turns out, you are very much like your mama. That could explain a lot of head-butting that goes on in our relationship. I'd like to think that this isn't a bad thing; that we both are growing because of it.

But anyway, sweet baby girl, YOU are the one who was there when I experienced a "love at first sight" moment.

I love and treasure every single moment since then.

I realize you are counting down the next 365 days. I get that.

I am too. 18 has always been sort of a "deadline" for making sure I have done my job as mama. But now that you are here, I realize I have done what I set out to do over 6,000 days ago. Now it is up to you. I also know that I will never be "done" being mama. My role just changes.

AND I will continue to treasure each moment. Because love at first sight is love at first sight.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

Happy 17th Birthday, Marz!

Love, Mama

"Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart"
~Luke 2:51
P.S. Your birthday gift is what you asked for.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sticky-Note Prayer: Answered

A couple of years ago, I started this thing with the kids where I would write a prayer for them on a sticky note and stick it on their bedroom door. Usually it was a bible verse that I was praying for them.

For the most part, it seemed they went sort of ignored.

But I knew it was appreciated, or at least noticed, about a year ago when I was the recipient of a sweet, sticky-note prayer from Marisa.

I had just been notified that a story I wrote, which made the first couple of rounds of acceptance, was cut just before the book went to print.

And I walked in to my room to find this sticky-note-prayer on my desk:

"Galatians 6:9
Dear God,
Please be with mom and give her strength. Remind her that you have a plan. Make sure that she doesn't give up. Amen.
Love you mama
Love, Marzy

If you are wondering, Galatians 6:9 reads "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Thank you for praying for me, baby girl. I didn't give up. And God answered your sticky-note prayer.

In two months, I will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back.

It's not just a dream come true for me, but a specific prayer request answered. 

A prayer that was sharpied on a post-it. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

So this is what "afraid" looks like:

I've been this super amazing and awesome mom.

if i do say so, myself.
(which I do. It is my blog, after all)

At least when it comes to being able to aptly and confidently encourage my children to try new things, explore talents, and step out of their comfort zone in order to embrace seasons of their lives and use the gifts given to them.

Some of these gifts, talents and good-old-fashioned HARD WORK has paid off for them.

So I find myself in new territory today.

I find myself on the receiving end of

of advice that I have
of my kids.

And now I know what it is like to have to face a new situation and be completely scared out of my mind to do it...

....but to know that it is, without a doubt, the next

to do.

Pray for me.
Wish me luck.
Hold me.

I'm jumping in.

In Grand Rapids at the end of July.

I won a scholarship. If there is anything I have learned about what scholarships mean it is this:
they are an investment.

Here I go.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's a Big Day in our House

It's a big day in our household.

So much of the last few weeks and days have been spent working on putting together a graduation party for Nathan.

Today may look like a big graduation party. But tucked inside of that party is the major event of the day:  WE HAVE ANOTHER TEENAGER!
(and it's my baby)
(and I might be a bit sentimental about this, shocking...I know)

Danielle is 13.
She has spent the last 61 days warning reminding me of the countdown until her impending day of becoming a teenager.

And I have spent each one of those days warning reminding her of how she is still and always will be my baby. If there was I way I could put a stop to all of this time and growing up thing, I would.

But try as I might, I haven't figured out how make time stop. Haven't even figured out how to slow it down.

Dear Tookie,

I know you are growing up, and apparently this has to happen. I like the parts of this where you are doing your own laundry and shopping for some of your own things, and making some of your own meals. Even having your own tube of clearasil on the bathroom shelf is kind of a significant milestone.

But I miss the parts of tucking you in earlier than I go to bed, snuggling with a book, a prayer and a song, and even all the Disney Channel theme songs that would get stuck in my head.

I miss the days where you believed me when I said that your teeth would fall out if you skipped one night of brushing, or that if you crossed your eyes, they would freeze that way.

Ahhhh, the good-ole-days.

Actually every day with you in it is a good day.

Happy 13th To You!
I am so proud of you.
I am so proud to be your mama.
I love your sweet spirit, your quickness to forgive and your willingness to lend a hand.
Keep working hard and trying new things.

My best advice for your teenage years is this:
Keep God first
and always remember that quality chocolate will never do you wrong.

I may not have figured out how to slow time down, but I can freeze moments of it. This one is for you, my teenage-baby-girl:

love, mama

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dear Wildcat,

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight.

Tonight you are a Wildcat. But by this time tomorrow, you will be a Bulldog.

Tomorrow you graduate.

By every measure of the school and state
and even above and beyond both of those,
you meet and exceed the requirements set that say you are a graduate of high school.


I knew this would happen.

Somehow, when you were born and I started to feed you, something inside of me said that you would grow up, drive cars, date girls, excel in school and move on. Great. So feeding you seems to be where I went wrong.....

....if keeping you close was what the goal was.


I guess I knew from even before you were born that I would have to give you away.

You know the story of before you were born. How I thought I was losing you. How I promised to give you to God if He would please let me keep you.

He did. And you entered the world at a whopping 10 1/2 pounds.

thanks God. Not exactly what I meant but, cool. Way unforgettable. Love how you work in those ways....

So since you were such a giant when you were born, it turned out that the doctors were concerned with your brain and your collar bone. One was broken during the whole entrance in to the world. The other was deprived of oxygen for longer than they thought would render you as "normal."

So you are my miracle.

And just so you know, "normal" is a setting in the dryer.

You have been defying "normal settings" ever since....well, before you were born.

And you have been doing this as a Durant Wildcat.

I know you have been moving on and doing extremely great things both in and outside of Durant. Some of those things have been recognized. For example, I can't fall asleep tonight without mentioning how you were named the National Youth Leader of the Year, or that you were one of eleven students in the state that served as a page for the Iowa Senate. Just of those two things, you were ONE in the nation and ONE of ELEVEN in the state. 

Whether recognized locally or not, I think these are truly amazing.

When we wake up tomorrow, you will be preparing to address your classmates as a Wildcat. And when the ceremony is over, you will be a Bulldog.

I don't know what to say.  Other than this:

I am so proud of you.
I am proud of all you have accomplished
And all you have had to overcome.
I am proud of your drive.
Of your willingness to find a new dream
When the one you had was taken away.
I am proud of your dedication to your team,
and to your class.
I am proud of your dedication to the community
And to our State and Country. 
I am proud of your dedication and drive to take the next steps
to follow your dreams
believing that no matter the cost, 
that God has placed a dream on your heart
and you are going after it....
....even without certainty.

So mostly,
I am proud of your 

Because that is what you are operating on right now.
If I can give you any advice it would be this:

God has brought you this far,
You will face more obstacles.
But I don't think He would place these dreams on your heart 
only to let you down now. 

Honor God.
Live Your Dream.
and always know that there is someone on this side of heaven who believes in you.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Being Foolish

I love April Fool's Day.

I love jokes. I love it when my kids try to play jokes on me. I love dishing it right back. I'm on to all this April Fool's Day stuff.

Need to take your pregnant friend to the doctor, you say?
Take the bus. And I have always wanted to adopt.

Need me to bail you out of jail, you say?
Enjoy the balogna sandwich. We are out of bread anyway.

Dropping out of school to join the circus, you say?
Not much different than home, except people buy a ticket. Maybe we should start charging admission?

(as a bit of a side-note here, I should probably mention that the day is not over, and I could have a completely different take on today by the time tomorrow hits.)

Anyways, all of this April Fool's stuff actually makes me think of something that I want to say and it could be foolish.

Maybe not so much foolish as it is bold. And being bold may seem foolish. But it is something that I want all of my kids to be.

Want to graduate from college debt free? Do it. Go for it. It is a lofty goal, but what is the worst that could happen if you try?

Want to say that you will make it to state in your sport? Go for it. I'll save up the money for the hotel room so I can watch you meet your goal.

Want to travel this summer? You have saved all year for your DC trip, your missions trip and who says you can't go on that cross country trip? You never know if you don't try.

What are your goals?
Are you willing to be bold enough to seem foolish to achieve them?

I want to write a book. Actually, I want to write two.

It seems silly for me to say this, because I have wanted to write a book for at least a dozen years.

But this is my goal.
Not even joking.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Method to my March Madness

It's time, folks.

I'm sure there are several bracketologists out there just waiting for this blog post.

In the past, I have used an unconventional way of choosing teams for my bracket. You can read a little about it here:  MY MARCH MADNESS 

This year I just did not have enough time to take all of these steps to study and choose my teams.

So I worked backwards and forwards based entirely on the team MASCOT.

If, during the team choosing process in the bracket, I did not understand what your mascot was without looking it up, or if you just didn't sound as tough as the other team...then you lose.

If you were a Wildcat or a Bulldog...then you automatically advanced. Because I am partial to those. EXCEPT in the case of the first round Iowa vs Davidson game....I love my Herkey the Hawkeye.

But even Herkey loses to a Bulldog.

In the end, it's all a big dog and cat fight.

And the Wildcats Win!

Because I am especially partial to Wildcats!