Thursday, August 23, 2012

The 2012 Duerksen Dance Video

Some highlights of our Kansas trip... it really did all feel like it was set to music... fun times!

Guy on a Buffalo

Before we went to Kansas, one of Finn's major goals was to ride a buffalo. It was all he could talk about! Well -- wish granted, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa. And Trissa was talking all week about "Guy on a Buffalo" from youtube, and it just seemed like it is necessary to re-post. I will never look at these bison pictures the same again! Click this song.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Following the Bus...

Three weeks ago, my Mormor told me how she put her kids on the bus in Kindergarten and then followed them all the way to school, and then she was there in the afternoon to watch them get on the bus again, and followed the bus home. I laughed at such a silly idea -- until a lot of last minute schooling changes put MY kindergartener on the bus.

The first day of Kindergarten was a little hard for me, easy for Chayce. But when we decided two days later to try the bus, I found letting go absolutely excruciating. He also was a little wary of riding the bus alone. So I told him (of course under the pretense of helping him, not me) I would follow the bus all of the way to school and be there when he got off.

On Friday, if the bus driver could see me, she probably was shaking her head. I was softly crying and tailing her, stopping where she stopped, going when she went. Finn, in the back seat, was puzzled. "Why are you so sad?" "What happened, Mama?" "Where are we GOING?" By the time we reached the school, I had gotten myself under control and had a happy face on to greet the little guy, who was looking wildly everywhere for me as soon as he stopped off the bus. (He was the last one off.)

My fears are less of him getting lost, and more of this world's pollution. I've until this point been most afraid of rattlesnakes and falls -- and now I worry about his little heart. And over and over I've had my mama friends who have gone before me (thank you Amy, Megan and Stephanie!) remind me over and over again that even when I can't go with him, God is going with him. "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, or settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me and your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9-10. And it is easy to say, and harder to do. Even TRYING to go with him, I can only stay the legal trailing space behind the big yellow behemoth.

So this weekend, when I told him he would do the bus thing alone, he winced. I asked him, "Did you see me following the bus?" He said, "No." I asked, "What about when we stopped -- did you see me stop?" "No," he answered. "How did you know I was there when you got off the bus then so that you were looking for me?" He was frustrated by my questioning. "Because you said you would be there." "Yes," I answered, "and God has promised that he will be with you -- not just trailing -- even though you can't see Him either." He nodded. I know I needed that illustration more than Chayce did. And so we begin another week!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lessons from Eric Liddell for Olympic Motherhood

With the Olympics coming up, we've been preparing. Chayce has me out with the stopwatch and I'm timing him. My husband's been piling pillows on his legs for the boys to "hurdle" over. The kids are making Olympic and "USA" signs to decorate the house. Tomorrow, on the request from my oldest that I let them "be more crafty," we may just paste and paint together some medals.

But from a few sources over the summer, I've been thinking about Eric Liddell, the 1924 gold medal sprinter, on whom the movie "Chariots of Fire" was based. There was one quote that really stuck with me. He said, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure." I think of my boys running around our dirt for the sheer sake of running -- not in a race, not training, not for exercise, but just for fun, just to feel the wind in their face and see the dust kick up behind them. I'm amazed (especially since I'm not particularly fond of running).

As a mama, sometimes (more often than sometimes), I feel defeated and useless. Like my days changing diapers and wiping up spill after sticky spill, or saying something ten times and then realizing that no one else has moved an elbow toward response. And I wonder, also pitying myself for all those hours once studying Homer and Dante, and Hume and Locke -- is this what I'm good for? Is this what God has designed me for? So then I spin into another disastrous cycle of trying to pour more meaning into motherhood -- trying to educate better, be "more crafty," more adventurous, more designer, a better cook, cleaner -- trying to compete with mom-blogs who are picture perfect. And then, again, I fail.

So this Eric guy really hit me this summer as we are preparing for the Olympics. He didn't run because he had something to prove -- to himself, to his country, to God. He ran because it gave him the most simple form of joy there could possibly be -- knowing that he was pleasing his Creator by doing was he was simply designed to do.

Contrast that with his counterpart in the movie, Harold Abrahams, who said: "I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence." Unfortunately, I feel like most days I relate to Harold more than Eric. I feel like these baby years, or these some 23 years with kids at home, must somehow justify my entire existence. That my success is tied not only to MY outcome, but to my children's as well. And that terrifies me, because this is just stage, just as I once defined myself predominantly as a "volleyball player" and later a "student" and later a "marketing manager" and "wanna-be writer." This aren't labels with staying power, and neither is motherhood. The only post-it note that is really sticking, the one that doesn't come off, (thankfully), is that what doesn't label me, but rather labels my relationship to my Savior.

I don't have this one race to justify my existence, because I don't think I could on those terms. Thanks to grace, I've already medaled -- not by MY run, no. And now that I've already medaled, I just run. Not because it's my job, or to prove anything to anyone, but because I love it (as long as I'm looking up, and not out). Run the path laid in front and enjoy the wind on my face, the dust kicking up behind me. That's true gold. And taking care of these little boys, I really do feel God's pleasure. There's no place I'd rather be.

This is a verse that has really encouraged me these last few busy months... "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He carries the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young (that's ME!!)" Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Boden

He’s the happiest little guy. I remember thinking when we were trying to get pregnant – how could I be so greedy as to hope for another little one when I already have two older amazing boys? – and now he is here and I couldn’t imagine how we got along without him. He’s the perfect fit for our little family.

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Well – somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I do sometimes try to recall what it was like before any kids at all – I think there was sleeping in and full nights of sleep, and I think Treg and I used to sit and talk for hours – but maybe that is just my imagination. I do know that I must have wasted a LOT of time.

My Super Hero

What does a little guy do for his 3-year old dinosaur and swimming birthday party?

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Dress up like Superman, of course!

He’s also all about riding “buffalo,” a “nice hippo,” or other such wild creatures. He is sure that moose eat muffins. He doesn’t walk anywhere – but gets around with hops, skips, spins, and jumps. He’s gotten to a wonderful mix of independence and still needing cuddles now and then. I’m so thankful for this guy.

Swim Time

How do you know when it is time to get an inflatable pool?

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Yes, that is my ice chest.

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