Home from CA Oakland/SF
Mission – Spanish

Beaming!  That is how my friend Sherry described me today – and the reason is clear – I have had both of my grown-up boys at home for the past four days!  This is the first time in almost four years that we have had all six of our children together and my heart is full to bursting.
The best part?  Watching the children interact – they are all friends and I cannot think of anything greater that I could ask.  As I watched them together, I kept thinking of the phrase, “A fullness of JOY.”  All mothers would know what I mean.

How did I get out in front?  Another year or so and I am
going to be the shortest one!  How does that happen??

Today Mark talked about the hymn, “God, Our Father, Hear Us Pray” – particularly the lines:
Pardon faults, O Lord, we pray;
Bless our efforts day by day.
He spoke of parenting and testified that, although we have plenty of faults, the Lord will indeed bless our efforts.
I think that parenting has provided more life-lessons than any other aspect of my life.  Regarding having children grow up to be friends — I really began to think about this several years ago at Mark’s cousin’s wedding.  His cousins are a half-generation younger than us, and as I sat with my sisters-in-law we all enjoyed watching those five grownup/young adult siblings interact.  Our children were all relatively young at the time and we asked his Aunt Merrilee if she had a secret that she could share with us… or was it by chance?  Duh – of course it wasn’t by chance.  I remember her telling us that they had always made family a priority and when they did family activities – that is who was there… family.  Her kids are outgoing and had plenty of friends – but they took the time to make sure that the strongest friendships developed within the family.
We were already on this path.. partly because this is the way that I was raised and partly because we already had 8 passengers in an 8 passenger van and partly because we live in the country, many miles from friends, and mostly because I just really love to be with them… My children choose wonderful friends – I have always enjoyed them, and I love having them in our home.  They are certainly an important part of our family life – but when family life is just family – ahhh, my favorite thing!

Yummy!  Greg made us
homemade pupusas with
Otai to drink.

Talking with Merrilee that day helped me to see the big picture – to imagine my children many years down the road – interacting, laughing, reminiscing – eating good food, cleaning the kitchen without being asked (this did happen this weekend), enjoying serious/thoughtful conversations, laughing (did I already say that?)…
The Lord will bless our efforts – but we have to make an effort!  One of these days I will blog about some parenting decisions we have made that don’t fit today’s norm and have made all the difference… mostly it means loving our children enough to have rules with consequences, working alongside them, talking-talking-talking-about-everything, and laughing together whenever we can.

Sporting our new “California” souvenirs.

As I type… Nathan has been dropped off at the airport and we have had a quiet, recovery afternoon.  I can hear Greg in the next room with his sisters – they are experimenting with his camera – lots of laughing.  It will be fun to see what they are up to.  They like to make silly videos together – They made one yesterday afternoon and invited Mark and I to participate (in honor of being together).  The kids came up with the idea and we all kind of made it up as we went along – while the cheesecake cooked. Natalie edited it while Greg made us dinner.   It is silly – some of us worse than others… We thought it best to save it for friends who come to visit, but now I am tempted to add it to this blog… they say it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission…

Haha – I got permission, but it wouldn’t load.  Phew.
Well – a few days have passed.  This all sounds so idyllic, but last week with all the children was just that…  Of course it is not always like that – we make parenting errors on a regular basis, and our kids make plenty of mistakes as well… but I am not here to blog about that… I would have to call this gripe, grumble & grouse through my miserable life.  No fun to write, no fun to read, no way to live.

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