This is one of my favorite parts of our house . . . the kids' play area outside. It's been a work in progress since we moved in, and just seems to get better with time . . . and costs not much more than the bags of sand we buy every few months. We've spent many hours out there lately and it feels so good to my soul!
We've had a good couple days lately and it has just filled me with thanksgiving. Realizing that I don't have a RIGHT to have children or to be a mother . . . and yet God allowed me to anyway! I remember during those years of infertility, people would try to encourage by saying things like "oh God will give you your desires," and other comments that seemed to imply that I had a right to be a mom . . . that "of course" God would answer that prayer. But no where does it promise that we get to have children . . . and so I'm daily reminded how thankful I am for these two (almost three) precious children that God has BLESSED me with. I think that's the real meaning of "Children are a blessing . . ." They aren't a right, a promise or a reward. They are simply a blessing. And I sure am thankful for them.
As I think about the upcoming year, there is going to be a lot to balance. I'm thankful for this year, as we've worked through some balance issues, practiced with routines and talked about what is important to us. As all our friends get ready to send their 5 year olds off to school and we get ready to undertake Shannon's education at home; I'm thankful we've worked through why it is so important to us to train and educate her. It certainly isn't going to be easy to add "teacher" and "mom of a new baby" to our routine, all at the same time.
As we get ready to add another child to the family, I'm thankful for siblings who adore each other and play well together. Today's conversation at lunch "Shanny, I love you bigger than the tree." "Forest I love you bigger than the moon." And on and on.
As we start a new Ranch year with only a couple boys, and struggling ones at that; I"m thankful for a good support system around us. And I'm REALLY thankful for four weeks of vacation this summer! Most of which will be spent up north again!
So there we are! I'm 18 weeks pregnant and feeling great. Struggling a bit with back pain issues, but otherwise feeling good. Ultrasound on May 14th!!!!!!!!!!!! Dear friends coming to visit on May 6th, whom I haven't seen in five years! New babies around the Ranch, so lots of photo-taking opportunities. As I remind these families, I am NOT a professional and have no desire to be so . . .I just happen to be able to take better pictures than they can; I like the practice and can hopefully "bless" them through it. A few of my favorites (btw the belly and the baby aren't from the same family!).
Speaking of blessing . . . my brother's friend is getting us into Disney tomorrow! Yippeee for free perks of living in Florida! Then we shoot into a busy next two weeks, much busier than I'd like as far as appointments and things away from home. Hopefully then we can nest back home again! Because home is sure where my heart is!