Wednesday, September 12, 2012

small victories.

"Made it to Tuesday!"  my friend texted me yesterday.

I smiled because I was really feeling that text. 

Making it to Tuesday seems almost laughable doesn't it?
How can we not make it to a Tuesday?  it's only the 3rd day of the week,  how hard can it be?

Sometimes Monday is such a Monday, that Tuesday's arrival is a thing of victory!

"Made it to Tuesday!"
It's not nearly as accomplished as the victorious shout,  "TGIF !!!"
...but, at times it sure feels like it.

It's that time of year where I have to right my attitude rather often.
School is back in session,  and with it comes all the busy.

The big irony of my life is this...

It annoys me.  Unlike some,  I don't thrive on chaos,  but secretly wish I did. 
I tend to lose function (and graciousness) right at the height of the busyness.
It's not a great scene.

After those moments I am always left with this:  a pile of crying kids,  sky high laundry,  incomplete homework.   Oh, and let's just throw in a completely spilled 2L of orange soda,  Dan working out of town and a teething toddler for good measure.

How do I reconcile my aversion to busyness with the reality that I have 5 kids going in 5 different directions?  I ask myself that question quite often because wishing my life was slower paced,  more home based and less minivan occupied is really not going to help matters.   I must take actions to keep myself from the quicksand of grumbling discontent.  

This week's action:  ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE
with a rambling  manifesto  prayer...

How can I not completely bust open with thankfulness for all that God has given me?  Does sticky orange soda ALL OVER EVERYWHERE really amount to anything when compared to the 5 healthy, funny, naughty, unique kids that spilled it?

NO.   Our kids are gifts.  Every moment that I cart them around, wipe their butts,  fold their laundry, make their sandwiches,  give them tylenol,  cheer them on, and put them to bed is a gift of a life with them.
Yes,  of course I will feel like I am going off the rails from time to time but, Lord,  help me not to lose perspective for too long.  
God,  speak to me when I can't seem to do one more math problem or tackle the dishwasher for the millioneth time   Remind me Lord, that these moments are purposeful, sacred.   
YOU have called me to them.

During it all help me celebrate the small victories,  see the wins,  may they stimulate my day and my attitude so I know just how precious this life is.   

May I always thank you, Lord for these days... even the Mondays.

hope to work through and write about other intentional actions I can take to be the Momma I want to be.
but don't hold your breath...
I am a slow learner.

thanks for the inspirational text, friend-  truly.

The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases,
His Mercies Never Come to an End.
They are New Every Morning,
New Every Morning.
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Oh Lord.
Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Monday, September 03, 2012

good times. noodle salad.

So,  here I am at the end of another summer season with my thoughts and photo archives bursting at the seams.   We had more than enough activity to fill our days and nights and weekends.  I am thankful for this.  It made the long days and nights with Dan working away more bearable and we created memories I hope the kids will hold onto.

Here at the blog my tendency is to photo dump in an attempt to bring it up to date.  Let's call it...


Sunday, September 02, 2012


I'll see you again in 15 years,  I told him.

It may just be that long, or longer before we are able to spend 8 days alone again.
Back in March while Dan worked out of state,  we planned a trip to celebrate our 15 year anniversary.

It kind of felt like one of those once in a lifetime vacations,  and if that's true,  we are even more grateful for it.

I'll be honest.  Going into the trip I questioned 3 things:

Was the trip too long?

Would I miss the kids too much?

Would we remember how to be "just the two of us"?

The first day in we were quite tired from all the traveling so eating and sleeping took precedence.  No time to worry about my 3 main concerns,   we turned off the alarm and slept for what felt like a week.

Fully refreshed,  the next couple days went lazily by.   The surreal life is an accurate description to what we experienced on that cruise.   No alarms.  No kids.  No work.  No schedule.  No cooking.  No cleaning. No crying. No employees.  No pressure.  No stress.

I warned Dan for a few weeks prior that I had stored up many a conversation for the cruise.  One thing that we don't have the luxury of at home is finding a great amount of time to just sit and talk about things.  Things meaning more than our usual conversations about time he will be home from work and what kid needs what, where and how.

The cool thing about being away for 8 days is that you have all the time in the world to talk about the future,  our family, our dreams,  our struggles, our church, work,  anything and everything.   The cool thing is that on the cruise there were no distractions except if you count the waiter bringing me a bahama mama.

Question 1 answered.  8 days was not too long.  It probably took me that long to get all my words out.
Poor Dan.

Question 2.  Would I miss the kids too much?   We have been on trips before a few times in the first 15 and it seemed like those vacations found me homesick at some point.   I have to admit... not this time.   I love my children dearly,  no surprise there, but being away from them was refreshing!   Big surprise there!   I knew they were having a wonderful time with Grandmas and Grandpas so I cruised that week free as a bird!   No diapers to buy,  no minivan to drive,  no fights to break up.

Question 3.   Would we remember how to be "just the two of us?"
Well, this one was a bit more interesting.   Since the year 2000 we've been Mom and Dad...not as much Dan and Chelle.    I worried that we might stare at each other blankly and think... "who are you?"

Did I ever mention that I probably worry too much?

With dinners and shows and beaches, and pools, people watching and shopping, Oh, and how can I forget- Dan's slight Bingo obsession...
We had more than enough to do remind us that we are capable of fun outside of our parental roles.

I miss that cruise.  These days, it feels like it was just a dream.  In some ways it kind of was.

I'll see you again in 15 years, Dan.

Until then,  thank you for a lovely, precious time.  We will always have that moment on the top deck.  Remember?  When we cruised out of the port into the sunset and I fell asleep on your shoulder?   You may have thought it was the Benydryl I took for my heat rash  that made me so drowsy, but really-- it was one of the most contented,  peaceful moments of my life and I could just rest next to my love.

a few pix of the trip...

  Oops.  looks like someone forgot to pack black socks.   

 All fancied up for dinner.
 Loving the Sun!  a little too much actually according to my case of sun poisoning. 
that was unfortunate!
 Just about won us 5000 in Bingo!  but instead lost 40 bucks in 20 minutes.

 He couldn't wait to plunge into that clear water in Tortola.

 "hey, Hon.  let me take a picture of you by the ocean."

 Breakfast is served!   I love me some room service.  

 On May 23, 2012  officially our 15th Anniversary.
again..." Hey Hon,  let me take a picture of you by the ocean."

And one last little funny...
Dan would NOT let me purchase any of the posed photos that they take of you on the cruise.  
He did however try to video tape me checking out the proofs in the photo gallery.  
That is... before he was busted.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

5k follow-up

It was probably the first thing I set my mind to in a LONG time that I actually accomplished.
I have a ridiculous ability to talk myself out of doing things,  and exercise was always one of them.
if you wish,  read the back story on this idea.  here.

Training for a 5k was so far out of my comfort zone that Dan and I chuckled a lot in back in March when I started.   I would rather unwillingly drudge to the basement and set the treadmill to a rip roaring 4mph.

As March turned to April and then May I had improved my attitude by leaps and bounds and along with that came this curious actual desire to lace up and jog.    A group of my wonderful gal pals and I were committed to running a local 5k,  and it was drawing nearer and nearer.

I would have to say one of the funniest things about this journey was while Dan and I were on our anniversary cruise (more on that later).  We had such an extreme amount of free time on our hands that we went to the ship's gym and ran on the treadmills.   I am not sure I can accurately describe how obsurd this is for ol' Dan and Chelle.   Any other vacation you'll likely find Dan camped out at the ice cream machine or midnight buffet and me at ... well,  the swim up bar or ordering room service.   So,  you see,  the ship's gym was unchartered territory.    With the 5k looming I had to knock off a couple runs on vacay as to not fall too far behind.

All of a sudden it was race day.   I was more nervous about Dan's abilities that day since he hadn't trained  a lick.   I figured I would be good to go.
What followed was a butt kicking.  His kicking mine- in regard to finishing times.

But that's OK.  I took great delight in experiencing something completely new.   There was SO much I learned in that race.  Things to do differently,  ways to push myself harder,  and ultimately the sense of accomplishment of a personal goal.

i could not have done this without the encouragement from so many and I honestly thank them for it!

laugh. out. loud.

they also kicked my butt :)  Way to get out there and run,  Dykstras!

I do look forward to the next 5k.   I really, Really need to shave a few minutes off my time!
In the mean time,  you might see me running down the street solving the world's problems in my head and (finally) enjoying every step!

a helpful quote I came across today...  quite encouraging because oh, my.  I experienced both!

"Relish the bad training runs.  Without them it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate the good ones"  
--Pat Teske

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I wanted to do this 2 months ago, but you know how it is...  life gets in the way.

So,  15 years and 2 months into our marriage we celebrate 
with this slideshow of photos... through the years,  
and a wedding prayer.

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.
--- Matt Redman Never Once 

Father in heaven,
        give today your blessing
        upon the marriage of Dan and Michelle.
      We thank you for the vows
        they have spoken
        and the love in which
        they are now united.
      Keep them faithful and strong
        in every trial.
      Sustain their joy and affection
        for many years.
      We pray, Lord Jesus,
        that you will be acknowledged
        head of their home
        and master of their lives.
      Equip them, Holy Spirit,
          with patient endurance,
      sacrificial service, unfailing courtesy,
        endless trust, and lasting love.
      Grant that their home
        will often be a place of laughter;
        and in times of difficulty or trouble,
        a haven of healing and forgiveness.
      May they and their children
        give constant praise to you,
        eternal Father, who with the Son and the Spirit
        is God, blessed and exalted forever. Amen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spring into Summer!

annnnd.... exhale.

Summer is here.   Since my last post was Mother's Day and Father's Day is long gone...let's play catch up.

This poor blog has been largely ignored in the last while.
I jumped into May ---held my breath and let it out when the kids finished school.

I'd like to point out (for the memory books) that my kids had an extra long Last Day O' School since I forgot what time dismissal was and the poor souls waited 20 minutes for this lady to mozy in with the minivan.    

They survived,  but I was bummed.
I love that last day of school scene.  Papers from somewhere mid year swirling around the halls,  overflowing dumpsters and (dare I hope) recycle bins where all the year's hard work is laid to rest.  I love the jubilant faces of the students  as they slug that dirty backpack and smelly lunchbox over their shoulder one last time.  

I see relief on the face of teachers that they survived or thrived another year.   What is theirs for the taking is now respite,  refreshment and renewal.  ( for about 80 days )  But don't get me started on that.  'TIS TOO SHORT.

But,  I missed it.  Too late for pickup and 2 of my kids found other rides home.  My eldest child waited patiently at the flagpole as I cruised into the drop off spot.   My son who had just completed 6th grade,  hopped in the van and shook his head with knowing.   He knew I was late,  he knew I was clueless,  and he smiled anyway.   Boy,  did I grab hold of that.   I don't know if that kind of grace comes regularly as a 6th grader turns 7th grader and beyond.

Insert Last Day Pic here:

Well,  with the another Last Day and its story in the books I thought the easiest way to bring this bliggity blog up to speed is a photo dump.  (thanks for new term, Jamie!)

And now,  my lame attempt to record the doings from 2012 second quarter...

 Naomi delights.   She is now nearing 16 months and still refuses to walk...
or hold a sippy cup...
It's no big secret why :)  Let's just day she likes to be pampered.

 My search ended for the perfect dresser!  Finally, a real home for our unmentionables!
 Find the seller and professional painter :

 A trip with Drew to the Michigan Historical Museum.  Love Rosie the Riveter.  Reminded me of this post over on Little Things.  The resemblance is uncanny!

 The 4th Grade Wax Museum.   Drew, as Wilbur Wright of the Wright Brothers.
Yes,  I was constructing that plane into the wee hours of the night...
the night before. 
It's how we do.

Over the last 3 summers I have really,  really taken an interest in gardening.   This beauty was a sad, spent, little clearance plant last year for one dollar.   I had to wait a year, but it was worth it.  

Second grade brings a day in the life of a pioneer girl.   Joy was so excited to go to the one room school house and experience life as it once was.   Real life Little House on the Prairie!

That wrapped up the school year.

Little did I know I needed to take another huge breath and hold it until after the 4th of July,  when things would once again calm.

Happy Summer!
More catch ups coming soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a Mother's love.

My mom and I,  with April.

A sad photo,   but a beautiful love.

Happy Mother's Day!

May God bring you all the joys, comfort,  peace,  gratitude, love and hope that a day like this can bring.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

"never again"

I'm sure I've mentioned before Dan's occupation is not  predictable,  stable,  and only sometimes local.

I relish the sweet life when we can get 2 out of the three.  Typically it's only one.

Sometimes I desire predictability.   He says home by 6:00-- and at 6:12  I hear the diesel rolling up just in time for supper.  This makes for a great night. 

Sometimes I crave stability.   Week to week income consistency.   Perfect for budgeting,  saving?  and planning.

Other times (and thankfully,  this one doesn't happen too often)  I would like to hear Dan snoring next to me at night and not have to say goodnight over the phone.

I am not trying to be whiney or sarcastic here.   I just needed to clarify that because sometimes tone is hard to detect in writing.   I'm just sharing some thoughts and actualities.

Putting these wants down on virtual paper tells me something.

It's all about me.
How I want my life to roll,   how could my day to day be better?   Why am I so overwhelmed?

These selfish tendencies start small as molehills and become mountains quite quickly.    In March, I let it get the best of me when Dan worked far, far away.

"Never Again!"   I ranted during our nightly telephone convo.   I can't remember the details of that day,  why I was so frustrated,  or even what was his reply.      I remember thinking how his job/his paycheck was absolutely not worth what I was going through during the 3 weeks alone with the 5.

Can you smell the selfishness?
I couldn't.

In fact,  I was in danger of ruining his homecoming because I had a hard time letting go of how irritated I was.  

I realize I sound like a disaster of a person here :)   But what one of us hasn't had a moment where they felt like somehow their life wasn't what they signed up for?    Don't we all have that things in our lives that etch away at our perspective?   Those times when we are downright open season for the devil's schemes?

Is a comfortable,  manageable existence my ultimate goal?


Is finding the God honoring way to live within the discomfort and irritation what I am called to do?


Should I put myself in the shoes of my husband who had to sleep in a hotel,  away from his children,   with no break from his employees,  eating more restaurant meals than anyone would ever want.   Away from me,  from church family... separated from his life?

I could go on,  but won't because there is a turning point to this story that came from an unexpected place. 

You see,  while I was disgruntled here at home something amazing and special was happening for a loved one of mine.   I didn't know it at the time,  but learned about it after the guys came home.
I say guys,  because Dan wasn't completely alone while he worked away. 

He was with his Dad.  His brothers. 
They all worked together on the same job.   If I am correct,  this hasn't happened before and most likely will not happen again.  

So while I was grumbling away at home,  Dad D. was experiencing moments to treasure and keep. 

Dan and I talk often about the pros and cons of family business.     I won't get into those but will say that once in awhile blessing trumps the hardships.  

For many reasons, Maryland 2012 was one of those those times.

I am certain I will forget the annoyance it was for me to be alone for 3 weeks,   but Dad will never forget the weeks he worked side by side with his sons in the beauty of spring.

This ones for you, Dad.   It was your turn  :)  (insert smile here)