Thursday, May 29, 2014

School Projects

The end of the school year is unbelievably quickly approaching so that means some school projects have invaded our home. (Exactly two weeks from today we'll have a 3rd and 6th grader?!) Both girls worked hard on their science fair projects this year. Haley chose to do an experiment on rocks.

And Hannah studied the difference in sound and volume based on the size of drums.

Both girls participated in the Spelling Bee this year for the first time. They both made it to the final spell off but not much further than that. They were gracious runners-up, loved the experience and Haley can't wait to try again next year.

And last but not least, Hannah has had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the High-Cap program this year and their last assignment was to create a ferris wheel as pairs using whatever materials they could find in the piles provided for them. I was more than impressed at what came home! Amazing what a little brainstorming and come creativity can get ya!! It actually turned around . . . and the girls thought to put pennies on the folded playing card seats so they were weighted and didn't flip over.

It's been an amazing year of learning and growing for both girls and I couldn't be prouder of all they have done.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Much Needed Tank Filling Wake-Up

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a Beth Moore conference this weekend. This is no small feat for so many reasons. My asthma has been so out of control the last couple months I have not been able to even get downstairs most days let alone out of the house! And a drive over and back to Spokane away from my doctors and safe little cocoon? Forget it! It was truly a miracle that I was stable and strong enough to load into the car with one of my bestest friends in the world for an amazing weekend.

I went in so drained and so empty and imagined I would leave with an encouraging message of God's healing and hope and rah rah sis boom bah - feel all warm and fuzzy and loved. This was not the case. Instead, the reoccurring theme I kept hearing was, "GET OVER YOURSELF!!" I was not molly coddled nor did I receive permission to live in my pity party but given a much needed wake up 'knock it off.' Knock off my self-conscious and vain thoughts about my puffy face and steroid weight gain. Knock off my self-imposed pity parties about how bad my little world is. Knock off my apathy towards getting anything done and Get Over Myself. 

She formed her talk around the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14-30) in which a master is getting ready to leave on a long journey. He leaves ten talents (some kind of biblical moolah) with one servant, two with another and the last poor sap only got one. (The distribution was based on how much they could carry - metaphorically speaking . . . I'm pretty sure those little talents didn't weigh a whole lot). Anyway, master leaves and guy with five talents immediately goes out, puts the money to work and doubles the amount he was responsible for. The guy with two talents does the same thing but the guy with one heads straight for the field and buries it in the dirt. Sometime later the master returns and calls the servants to him to see how they did. Guy one and guy two show him how they were responsible and smart and useful and doubled their money but the guy that was only trusted with one comes over with a song and dance about how he was scared of the masters response and knew he wasn't a very good guys so he buried it. The master gets upset and explains that Mr. Last Guy did not truly know the master at all or he wouldn't have been so foolish and gives the one talent over to the first guy. The moral of the story is, are using your talents and abilities or are you just wasting what you've been given?

She talked about how we were created to contribute. This resonated in a big way and struck me as to why I've been feeling so antsy and frustrated lately. My previous definition of contributing for myself has been volunteering in the classrooms, watching other people's kiddos, serving as PTSA president, running errands and taking care of the home for my family etc. and with my current health situation, I am unable to do ANY of those things. However, if there wasn't still something I could contribute, then I wouldn't still be here. There's no point in being a useless bump and burying myself in the dirt. Not only would that be a complete waste of any talent and ability I have but it would also be a huge misunderstanding of who my Master is. He wants to use me. I don't have all the answers in what that looks like yet but it was a wake-up.

At the end of the day, the people that love me are just happy to see me home and walking and couldn't care less about all my vanity issues. And there is some way that I can still contribute even if it doesn't look the same way as before. I needed a good old friendly shaking. I need to get over myself, stop focusing on all the "cant's" and "shoulds" and "poor mes" and "what ifs" and "used tos" and instead focus on the "what nows." I need to put my talents and abilities to work. I need to find ways in which I can contribute. I need to stop letting my ego dictate how I feel about myself and focus on the progress I've made. I needed my tank filled and now it is. It was not a touchy feely miracle the minute I walked into the stadium. It was a mental/spiritual challenge and lots of food for thought.

 I restarted the tapering of prednisone today. It's not going to be easy. There is a very real possibility of a third relapse and slipping back into an asthmatic flare but I'm ready. I have a full tank. I'm not perfect. I'm not healed. I'm not 100% ready to exude sunshine everyday but my persepctive has been changed a bit and I'm going to jump head first into the game and get over myself.

I got a beautiful new devotional journal based on my favorite Beth Moore book "Get out of the Pit" called "Looking Up." The description says, "When life is looking down, look up and find God’s deliverance! Life can be hard…sometimes to the point of feeling as though your struggles will never end, and God isn’t anywhere near. The Looking Up Devotional Journal is Beth Moore’s timeless message of hope and deliverance taken from Psalm 40. You’ll discover you are indeed not alone, and that God’s gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work, pointing you toward a life of wholeness and fullness. Guided journaling gently leads you out of hardship into a brighter future of purpose and peace." I'm ready to focus on that. I came home, pulled out one of my pretty new colored pens and got to work. It's only one page of reading and a few guided prompts but I know that by keeping my eyes up, I'll be heading into these next few weeks/months of the slow precarious process of decreasing medicines, with a renewed strength and focus on the right things . . . investing my talents and abilities instead of burying them in the dirt.

Looking Up: Trusting God With Your Every Need Devotional Journal

This picture doesn't do it justice but on the right side is a magnetic flap and the wispy white flowers are raised on the cover of the book. Sometimes just holding something of beauty in your hands is enough to inspire and encourage. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go this weekend.  I am so grateful for the much needed tank filling wake-up and I am so grateful that I serve a Master who created me to contribute and find rest and peace in His gracious and loving hands.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day

To my mom . . . 
Thank you for your life of sacrifice just to be my mom. You were at every concert, every field trip, every play, every event. You made every birthday party amazing. You taught me to play games and never showed any mercy teaching me the importance of trying hard (and maybe you've taught me too well . . . a perfect game?!). You always made me feel loved. And now, the adult relationship we have is one I treasure beyond words. We stay up waaay to late because we have too many things to laugh and talk about. You are the most incredible grandma (of which I always knew would be the case). It's the little things (like a new bag of yarn) and the big things (like spending a week when I had new babies to make sure I didn't lose my mind) that make you the most incredible mother a girl could ask for. Thanks for setting the example of what a mom looks like and still living it out day in and day out.

To my mom-in-law . . . 
I have yet to come up with a different term that doesn't have such a negative social image because our relationship is wonderfully completely different. Thank you for being such an amazing mother to Travis. I get to appreciate the fruits of your labor by marrying a man who was taught to respect women and provide for his family. Thank you for your acceptance and love for me as a daughter supporting and encouraging me from the beginning. Thank you for being an amazing grandma to our girls. And thank you for setting an example of what it means to be a woman of God.

To my sister . . . 
Happy first mother's day!! I am amazed by you as a mom. You are patient and calm and loving. You have an incredible little man that (I can tell you from almost 11 years of mommy experience now) will test every last ounce of your patience, push every last button you've ever had, drain every last speck of your energy and enrich your life beyond your imagination. Welcome to the mommy club!!

To my mommy friends . . . 
It takes a village to raise kids and I am so thankful to be in this village with you all. You make me a better mommy by encouraging me, supporting me, inspiring me and sharing your lives with me. You fill in gaps when I can't, laugh when mommy life is just too ridiculous for words, and remind me just what an amazing job this is.

And finally, to my beautiful little girls . . . 
My whole life I knew I wanted to be a mommy. Almost 11 years ago, my life long dream came true. Since then, the two of you have stretched me beyond where I thought I could go and changed my life in ways I could never have imagine. You both make me laugh sometimes until tears are rolling down my face. I can't imagine life before you nor dream of life without you. I am beyond blessed that God has trusted me enough to give me you to take care of, nurture and love. Thank you for making me a mommy.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Afternoon Day Book

Outside my window... 
Wind is blowing through my giant old trees of which I love to look at. It's reminding me of something Travis' Nana used to say (who lived to be 96 so you should listen!!) . . . if there is wind, then wind's my favorite and if there is sun then sun's my favorite but if there is rain then rain's my favorite. It's such a beautiful attitude of joy in each day down to each detail

I am thankful for..
Friends. I have two doctors appointments next week and two different friends who have offered to drive me - one of which has to go literally back and forth on the freeway four times at 40 minutes each way!! I am beyond blessed. 

I am thinking about...

How quickly the end of the school year is approaching. There are less than 20 days before I will have a 3rd grader and a 6th grade middle schooler?! The years are beyond fast sometimes! 

Learning all the time...
My limits. I have them and my type A, perfectionist self doesn't want to. It's time I wake up and face the music and really embrace the fact that the world does go around without me and life happens whether or not I try and control it (to no avail). There are a lot of things out of my control and I want to control that . . . issues!!

From the kitchen...
My hubby getting his cook on. We have watched enough Food Network now that he is becoming quite the chef. And he's not just cooking amazing food, he's getting the presentation down too. I feel like I'm at a 5 star restaurant sometimes. (We have also been blessed by some great meals from some thoughtful friends and neighbors that have been much appreciated and have given the chef a much needed respite!)

I am creating . . .
Another crochet blanket! What a surprising change of pace (she says oh so sarcastically!!)

I am working on...

Accepting help. It's not easy for me to sit back and be waited on. And I know, I know, I'm not doing it on purpose but, although sometimes I get out of breath just headed to the bathroom and back, I can't help but feel lazy. I'm a doer. I'm a goer. I want to be serving my family in the most mundane ways I used to take for granted and even complain about. It's not easy to sit on my hands and watch things be done for me. But, I need it and it's only my own stubbornness and issues that are a problem. I'm working on that. Ok - I'll start working on that. Ok - I'll talk about working on that and eventually actually work on it.

I am going...
To enjoy Mother's Day this year almost more than ever. I have two beautiful amazing little girls. My whole life, when some little girls wanted to be teachers or nurses or doctors or police officers, I wanted to be a mommy. Not a day goes by that I am not so grateful to have these little people in my life. Let's get real - not everyday is it a wonderful glorious job - but I am grateful everyday for two healthy little gifts that made me a mommy. And as hard as these last few months have been, those two little people have given me more of a reason to fight that anything else!

I am hoping...
To get to Spokane next weekend. I have had tickets to go see Beth Moore since December. With this asthma exacerbation, I have had to clear the calendar and cancel many events. I know it's not going to be easy and I know I'm going to be exhausted but I'm hoping and praying and wishing on stars and knocking on wood and everything else possible that I can be up to making the trip. There is definitely a physical part to this journey. I need rest and breathing treatments and doctor's appointments and medications. But, there is also a huge mental/emotional/spiritual side to this as well and I need to fill that area up so I can face this thing some more.

I am reading...
(Or listening on Hoopla) "The Wedding Dress" by Rachel Hauck. It's a sweet story of a woman who buys a trunk at an auction and finds an old wedding dress inside. The book then tells the stories of each of the women who wore the vintage dress going back as far as 1912. Kind of fluffy and kind of fun.

I am praying for...
A family who just lost their dad/son/brother/husband/nephew/cousin/friend way to early to cancer. He was about Travis age with two little girls the same ages as ours. It hit home. We are going through a hard medical time . . . but I am still here to fight. There are times when there are not even words to say . . . or to know what to pray specifically for . . . so I'm just praying for them.

I am hearing...

A fan. I know. It's windy outside and probably cool in my house but I'm on steroids remember? Fun side effect #72 - I'm smokin' hot . . . and I don't mean it in a fun, attractive sort of way. I mean it in a I'm-really-hot-and-need-a-fan-and-a-tank-top-even-though-its-probably-60-degrees-and-raining-so-leave-me-alone. (maybe the steroids make me a little edgy too?!)

Around the house...
Tidying chaos. Travis is doing an amazing job of carrying the load of two people and the girls are plenty old enough and they are helping with odd jobs but like it or not, there are just some Mom jobs and tidying is one of them. I know where stuff goes, I see things that other people around here don't seem to notice and when I make it downstairs, I kinda go a little buggy. Let me add to my "I am thankful for . . . " list. I am thankful for a friend who is coming over to my house to tidy. I'm gonna sit in my cozy chair and shed some light on the appropriate location for all the tidy problems and she will put them in their places. Thankfulness.

One of my favorite things...

My pillow. It's not a small thing to have a pillow that fits just right. Thank you Costco for your side-sleeper memory foam pillow that brings me great joy and comfort. 

Here is some picture thoughts I am sharing with you...

Three Sweet Buddies

Danananananananana . . . Bat James!!

Sleepy Little Simon

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Distration from Distractions

For the last few weeks I have worked tirelessly to keep myself distracted while I sit here and do nothing except focus on breathing. I have watched scores of movies and TV shows, crocheted copious amounts of blankets, hats, scarves, bed runners, skirts, even a sweater for my grandma, blown through books of crossword puzzles and Sudoku, played games on the I-Pad, even found the magical world of pod-casts and audiobooks.

Last night, I hit a wall. I was bored. Of everything. I didn't want to watch one more movie, do one more project, do one more puzzle or even listen to one more book. I was done. And I began to think . . . the whole reason why I have kept myself distracted . . . so I wouldn't think. Anyway, I began to think and what I realized was, I haven't been nourishing my soul at all. I've been attempting to feed my lungs with breathing treatments and I'd finally found a way to "read" books and feed my mind but my soul was getting weary. I decided that in the morning, I would pick up some "soul" feeding books. I have a new book called "Seven Sacred Pauses" that goes over praying through the hours. I have a few bible studies. I have some other encouraging things that would fill my heart and I needed to tap into that area that was getting very drained and feeling very empty.

This morning, my fabulous friend and current Marsh-Girl-Carpooler came to pick up my kiddos and popped into my room to say hi. She said she didn't know why she was thinking about it but she loved listening to sermons online - especially ones from "The Village Church" preached by Matt Chandler. She said it in passing and away she went. It was not a coincidence (as God's sovereignty never is). It was exactly what I was needing to do today. It was a very attainable way to begin to fill the gap in my soul . . . so filling I am doing . . . and it is feeling good. I am able to step back a little bit today and ponder. I am able to renew the depleted resources that have slowly began to fill with anger and frustration and irritation and disappointment which are fine in small short doses but eventually lead to apathy and a defeatist attitude which will not bode well to this healing process my body is undergoing.

Toby Mac posted a quote on Facebook. He said, "It's ok not to be ok . . . but only for a little while." I was beginning to pass the point of a little while. I will go back to distraction . . . probably tomorrow . . . because the days can be sooo long with nothing to do but neb every 3 hours. But today, I will refill the near empty gas tank with some powerful fuel. God is good - even when it doesn't feel that way. And we need to be reminded that He works all things for good - even when we don't get it. He never promises anywhere in His word that we will be healthy and wealthy and happy - but He does promise scores of times that we will never be alone. He is always with us - whether or not we chose to notice. Today, I'm choosing to notice. Today, I'm going to embrace this time of unhealthiness by taking advantage of the time to listen to some wisdom, adjust my attitude, and be ok again. Because there is always a choice. I can't control so many things right now. And I can't put a band-aid on the areas that hurt physically . . . but I can put a big old band-aid on my heart and my mind and work on health for the rest of the body. Here's to a day of distraction from the distractions.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Whole Lot of Hoopla

I've discovered something new!! Our public library system is now connected with a website called "Hoopla" and, with your library card, is basically Netflix for free. You can rent up to 10 movies, TV shows, music cds OR audio books!! I listened to my first book - actually a book I've read before but have been wanting to re-read and it was so fun. It allowed me free hands to continue working on a crochet project or play solitaire on the I-Pad but was also nourishing to my brain. And although I have enjoyed watched movies, I love to read and am normally a voracious reading devouring multiple books a month. It's very frustrating currently, when my hands get so shaky from the breathing treatments and I try to read a book. Now - my book reading is back!!

And speaking of books, you must read this one. Its a true story of a busy woman who passes by an 11 year old little boy panhandling on the streets of New York. He asks her for some spare change and she walks right past. For whatever reason, she turns back around and invites him to lunch at McDonalds. Thus begins a long relationship of lunch dates every Monday. They both learn about trust and love and what it means to be a family. I love this book and would give it a 10 out of 10.

Happy reading . . . or listening!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

350 posts?!

This is the 350th post here on our family's blog so I thought I'd write out 350 things we like to do . . . just kidding. That's ridiculous. Who could come up with that many? Better yet, who would want to read that many? Instead I will tell you why and how this blog came to be.

We have to go back a few years (no need to count) to when I was in 7th grade. No joke. We're going back that far. I digress. In our little town there were a few elementary schools but only one middle school so we funneled all together and got to meet new people. I was walking the halls one day when I saw a girl who was in one of my classes and I decided she looked nice and I wanted to be her friend. So I did what any middle school girl would do and I invited her to my birthday slumber party. From her end, she thought I was inviting everyone from the class so she decided to go. From my end, I'd only invited a few friends and her. Needless to say, she showed up, we got to know each other and thus began an amazing friendship. We were in a bunch of the same classes, may or may not have skipped class together (definitely not if my mom or daughters are reading this), even double dated one of the school dances each taking a boy named Cam - yes - those kinds of friends. We grew up, had to approve each others fiances, were in each others weddings, celebrated each little baby that joined our families (my two to her six but who's counting?!) and have continued being amazing friends. Our kids are now friends and we all look forward to our (at least) once a year trip to visit them for a few days. I love when we're together. We can pick up right where we left off laughing hysterically at the past, catching up on the present and pondering the future. I adore her to bits and miss her like crazy. Needless to say, years ago, she started a blog (She is an amazing writer, incredible photographer and is now doing Podcasts so check her out!) Immediately, I was hooked. I felt like we were sitting down together to drink coffee and talk about life.  But I quickly realized it was a one sided conversation. I knew what was going on in her world but she had no idea from our end. And I realized how great it was for her other family and friends who lived near and far to also catch up on happenings in their family complete with fantastic photos. I wanted one too.

So . . . the Marsh Family Blog was conceived. Choosing a name was almost like choosing a name for our kids. But then, one of my favorite MOPS speakers came to mind. She was discussing how, in family life, the days are soooo long. It's one repeated task after another that never ends; each day looking almost exactly like the last. BUT, the years are short. Within a blink of an eye, your newborn is a toddler is a kindergartener is a fifth grader is in high school is in college. It resonated so deep within me and truly helped me see our day to day differently. Each little thing in the day-lies matter. And by blogging about it, it's almost like making it count. Hence the name, "The Years are Short" to remind myself that time flies and I need to capture each day. Once I discovered a company called "Blog to Book" that allowed me to print bound copies, it became a scrapbook for our family and all we'd done in the year. It has become a place to share our adventures, log our travels, laugh about the little things, muse about upcoming things, review books and movies, highlight the good and even process the not so good. Each one of the Marsh family has contributed (it's just my luck to be the key representative of such a bunch) and we all love looking back and what's been sent out into the blog-o-sphere. It is for friends and family but mostly for us. We like it. So we've kept it. And now we've written 350 posts.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Still Writing . . .

Still down . . . still nebbing . . . still watching Netflix . . . still writing down titles . . . still like watching the ever growing list for the sake of watching it grow . . .

With a sometimes confusing jump back and forth between current and past, a young boy learns about the history of his family's home and begins to solve the mystery of a jewel thief all the while awaiting news of his dad's safety in the war. I'm not in love with it but didn't hate it either. How's that for a neutral review?

I went back to my roots with the documentary about the competitive world of Irish step dancing. It was a lot of fun, amazing dances and I couldn't help but fall in love with the little red head who refers to her grandma as "my wee guardian angel and all."


Haley and I watched this movie and laughed our way through the silly antics of two dads who have recently lost their jobs attempt to start a preschool. The kids are hilarious and the story is quite endearing.

The summer between 7th and 8th grade, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to china with a student delegation program. It was incredible and one of which I'll never forget. This 6 part series showed the culture, people, landscape, and animals of all the regions of China. I was captivated by this visual masterpiece and hung on every word of history and current times. I loved it and would totally watch it again!


This series, about a non-speaking boy with autism and his father's desire/attempt to understand him, is exciting, heartwarming, surprising and fun to watch. Each episode is like a mini-movie as the boy and his numbers or sequences set off clues connecting what seems like completely unrelated people and events in amazing ways. I'm really enjoying watching this show.


In the past, I have watched five minutes of each episode of this show after New Girl because my DVR has taped it. It has made me laugh but I had NO idea just how funny it was until now when I've started at Season 1 and laughed my way through episode after episode. Mindy (in real life) is an amazing writer, the cast is fun and the show is just flat hilarious. Some quotes that have cracked me up . . .

* The two most attractive things about a woman are her behind and her brain; the badunkadunk and the bathinkathink
* Oh you gotta get a shower caddy. It falls on you sometimes but it’s worth it
* I’m sorry we didn’t get to say goodbye in person but honestly it’s probably for the best because you would have started to cry then I would have started to cry and nobody wants to see somebody from the army cry because it’s bad for our nation
* I am not overweight. I fluctuate between chubby and curvy"
* There’s no such thing as closure. That’s just something Dr. Phil made up and the funeral industry.
* Midwife - "There is a strong connection between panic and asthma" Mindy - "You can’t just wave a dream catcher at a respiratory condition.
And yes - I have been writing them down because they make me giggle and I wanted to make you giggle too!


In this silly and yet endearing comedy, a daughter is faced with the responsibility of sorting out her father's alleged funeral while dealing with the dynamic between his six wives. It's actually quite sweet and an enjoyable little movie.

Another week clocked in. I wish I had the ability to see into the future and know just how long this madness will last. In the meantime, I'll pretend like I wanted to sit around for days upon days upon weeks at a time. The irony is, if someone gave me permission in the middle of my busy healthy life to put my feet up for a week and watch movies and read books and do crossword puzzles and take naps, I'd jump at the chance and take a stay-cation. Maybe I should pretend that's the case . . .