Just “BECAUSE” I love you…

67645_10200581197118849_2114318254_nLast night my husband sent me a text about the time he should have been driving in the driveway.  He knows I stay up and wait for him to come home.  He said he was running a bit late, and not to worry.  He works second shift right now and it’s brutal on family life.  He is trying hard to keep his sleep schedule on a third shift life, however, so it makes it more interesting.  He’s attempting it this way this year in hopes he can easily flip back to life that begins in February on third shift.  He’s been flipping from first to second to third, all over the place, and if he can keep his sleep in somewhat the same general place of the day, it helps a bit.  A tiny bit.

Anyway, I digress.  He ran an “errand” on the way home, at 10:30pm last night.  He stopped off at Meijers… NOT on the way home.  What did he pick up?  A single long stem red rose for me, a box of the fudge rounds I’d been craving, a pizza to throw in the oven for his dinner he was craving, and a box of donuts for the kids when they woke in the morning as a surprise.  (They dont see dad on the week days.  He works from 1:30-10:30pm, and he is still sleeping on his 3rd shift schedule in the mornings before they go off to school)  So this was not only a surprise, it was HUGE to these kids.

When he walked in the door with the goodies, and the rose held before him, my mouth dropped open and I stood speechless.  I didn’t know what to say!

“What!  Why??” I finally exclaimed as I threw myself into his arms. He just quietly grinned and shrugged.  “Just because,” I questioned?

With a nod of his head he agreed and added, “and I didn’t even do anything wrong.”  He grinned at me and held me close.  Truly, he took my breath away.  He had no idea.  None.  Though, I expected, he may have had a small inkling.  After all, he DID bring me that rose… GRIN 😀64990_10200581196918844_1392189861_n

It’s been a long and trying week to my emotional soul, and at that point it was still only Wednesday.  I was beyond blessed that he not only saw me and noticed, but he reached out and bridged the gap and found a way to sooth it away with just a simple and genuine act of love.

There are many ways to say I love you, but the best ones come when you don’t expect them… when they are “just because”.

Thanks Babe, you’ll never know how much this meant to me.  I truly needed this.


Successful launch of a future cook

Since my girls were tiny, they’ve been cooking with me.  We’ve pushed chairs up to the counter and watched, helped, and assisted Mom since they could stand.  Well NOW, it’s a whole new set up. Lindsey usually is ready to rock without me!  She’s setting up, mixing, baking, and CLEANING up after, all alone!

My girl Lindsey - a fantastic baker and cook!

My girl Lindsey – a fantastic baker and cook!

She used to make me chocolate pudding whenever I was feeling sick, a bit down, or just wanted to surprise me.  That began at age 4.  Now at 14 she has evolved into full breakfasts, dinners, desserts, and her favorite is cupcakes right now.  Yummy…  mine too!

We are never at a loss for something delicious if Lindsey has her way.  Actually both my girls are amazing cooks.  Allison does the same, with her specialty being perfect eggs, waffles and French Toast, and amazing chewy brownies.  I’ve made sure they both know how to work a crock pot, and have a long list of things they can make ranging from chicken, soups, pastas, to roasts even.  They know what to do.  If they had to begin feeding the family full time, they could.  We make a lot of fun things like tacos and pizzas too.  They can cook more things before they can drive than many women can cook when they are first married.  I am thrilled to say that these girls are set for the real world and will fly when they leave my nest.  At least they wont starve!

My kids are growing up.  I’m trying to make sure they’re ready for the world.  I even have the little guy cooking with me too.  By the time he leaves, he will be as good a cook as they are.  I hope his wife will someday be thrilled that she can lean on his mad skillz his mother taught him in the kitchen!  HA!

I love you. Period.

It’s easy to say, and tough to walk out.  There’s no other way to truly love except unconditionally.  Love is NOT love if there are clauses and a long string of “I’ll love you IF’s…”  My kids reminded me of this today.  Leave it to kids to flip the tables and teach you the lessons you’ve been working so hard to instill in them.

We adopted a new little girl to our family this summer.  Her name is Kori, short for Korina.  She has silky black hair and big brown eyes.  She’s adorable.

Kori, by the way, is a little dog.  She is as much a full blooded member of this family as anyone.  The kids were already in love with our first dog, Doogie.  Drake and Doogie grew up together, napping on the couch and watching the girls go off to school each day.  Drake was just 3 when Doogie came home from the shelter to live with us.  They’ve had 6 long bonding years and a lifetime of memories.

Kori, however, didn’t get that same joy.  She was 6 years old when we met her.  She had not been loved since she was a 3 month old pup like Doogie.  She had been abused and battered, was found starving, and had over 25 ticks covering her tiny body.  She was terrified of us, but warmed to me quickly.  We took her home and slowly she began to trust.  She has never once nipped or snarled.  Instead she learned not to cower when approached, knowing that no on here would hurt her.  She began to wag her tail, jump excitedly when we came home, and to play with Doogie endlessly.  She now is so fully in love with us, she follows us around all day, wanting to be in the same room with us.

Kori has brought to our home a kind of love that the kids had not experienced.  It was one where she had to learn what unconditional love meant, and we had to understand that for her, love was trust earned.  It was daily proof that we meant what we said, meant what we did, and daily went about acting it out.  She had to learn we were genuinely going to always be here, and love her the same each day.

Kori has had continual issue adjusting to learning how to ask to go outside, however.  Her fear and timidness still keeps her from asking.  So we have to anticipate her needs ahead of her needing them.  We also have to show her grace and forgiveness if it doesn’t always work out the way WE would plan or like it to.  But we don’t love Kori only IF she goes outside in time.  We love her.  Period.

This has actually been a huge step for me.  While I seem to be able to work this out with my kids, when it comes to the dog, I tend to get frustrated and say things in the moment that the kids interpret as “I love you IF” instead.  They repeated back to me a conversation where they believed we were getting rid of Kori because she has gone potty in the house.  I was confused.  But when I had said, “Kori, I’m gonna take you back to where we found you if you don’t start figuring this thing out,”  well, can you blame them?  Yeah.  I put a huge IF in the place of my FOR ALWAYS love spot.

So we had a conversation tonight.  I promised that we’d never return our little girl because she has some learning to do.  We can deal with a long learning curve.  After all… God has never given up on me.  And let me tell you, I have a HUGE learning curve.  I am forever humbled that God has fully promised that no matter how many times I mess up, He will be right there waiting, ready to help me clean up my messes.  And wow if LIFE isn’t often just a mucky mess!

Thanks, God, for showing us how to love by first loving US so completely and unconditionally, that you sent your own Son to die for our mistakes and our huge stinky messes.  If you can do that for me, I can continue to help my kids better understand your love by showing it to our precious little Kori.  I knew you sent her to us for a reason this summer.  Her lessons to us have been overwhelming and precious.

The next time you wonder if the mess you’re in can be cleaned up, remember Kori, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, God’s there waiting to help you clean it up and try again.

Catching the moments as they come

Allison and I catch a Chai and some magazines at the bookstore.

Allison and I catch a Chai and some magazines at the bookstore.


Sometimes moments present themselves and if you’re careful, you can catch them before they blow past.  Yesterday was just such a day.  It was a day that had some stress to it for Alli.  We had to be at the school for a meeting and it wasn’t a bad meeting by any means, but it was one where we had to deal with lots of stuff that are not fun.  Things are really hard for her and we are doing everything we can to make them better… but still, it’s brutal in many ways.  I am proud of how hard she is working to make it work.  She is amazing.

After the meeting, since we were already out, I decided to snag her away and keep her all to myself.  We don’t get nearly enough alone time as just us two girls.  To begin, we did an errand she has been looking forward to.  We ran over to the sporting goods store and bought her indoor soccer shoes and shorts.  She begins playing on the school’s indoor team the end of this month.  It’s hard to believe she’s already old enough for that.  Then we dropped by our favorite hangout.  The bookstore.  We grabbed a Starbucks chai and some magazines and plopped down for some afternoon reading and giggling.

I love bookstores.  I love the smell of books and the feel of them surrounding me.  Alli does too.  Its what she requests to do whenever she wants some alone time with me.  She’s a girl so close to my heart – you’d think I intentionally gave her the best of me when I helped God make her 🙂

Little snippets of treasure will present themselves randomly and if you don’t notice, they will pass right by.  It’s happened many times to me and after I notice they’re gone, my heart does a little sad flop.  It makes me more anxious to be aware of every time they show up.  Yesterday – I saw it and I took the unplanned detour.  I can honestly say nothing I had planned for yesterday afternoon mattered.  Not as much as that time with my middle daughter did.  She will only be 12 for 6 more months, and then that will be gone.  Yesterday is already over and I can never get it back.

Thanks, God, for stolen moments, and treasured memories.

I love ya, Alli girl!  There’s no one like you.  🙂

Ms Fancy Pants

Sometimes the biggest compliment I can get is when I see myself through my children’s eyes.  I always have loved their drawings and their cute ways of showing me off as “Mommy”- often where I’m gardening in stick figure form outside of a house drawn in crayon. I love the ones of me holding their hands with the colorful backgrounds that speak volumes of the love ,I sense, they know I have for them.

But recently my daughter drew me, and said she drew the “happy mom who got to be in a play.”  She drew me fancy!  Alli made my day.  When she was done, I not only looked cute, I looked like a 1940’s version of me – happy and merry.  I knew I had been happy while in the play, but I didn’t realize how much the kids noticed it till now.

Alli drew me fancy!
Alli drew me fancy!

When you have a chance to do something you love, even if only dabbling in it, the effects can be far reaching.  The kids have begun to ask me when I am going to be in a new play.  “Dont you want to be in one again?” was one kid’s question, while another followed up with, “Yeah, when are you gonna be in something new that we can come see?”  I do believe they like the mom who gets out and does fun things.

So thanks, Alli girl, for letting me see myself through your eyes.  I think I like the fancy look.  Maybe I need to find a cute blue dress, because it looks marvelous on me!

* Wink *

Lucky ’13

CampbellFamily12So here we are!  The world didn’t end and we are fully into the new year by six whole days!  Who would’a thought.  Certainly not the Mayans!  Well, we really dont know what they thought, but it’s safe to say they simply had to stop somewhere, and to them, the year 2013 was a crazy long time from them.

But here we are.  Unless you know something I don’t, it’s safe to say we need to plug away and follow through on living life long into the future.  And it’s there that I come into the new year swinging.  I’ve decided I’m going to have an AMAZING 2013.

Yep, that’s right!  It’s going to rock – because I decided it will.  I’m going to choose to do the hard things, and the fun things, the unpleasant tasks head on, and count the blessings each time I think I cant move forward.  Life is all how you choose to come at it and how you choose to perceive it.  I am going to choose the joy in life each time it presents itself, and even when it doesn’t.  Always, ALWAYS, there is some teensy nugget of joy or blessing in everything, if you look for it hard enough.  It may come on the heels of something overwhelmingly unbearable, but it comes.  Seeing it and recognizing it is key.

2012 was crazy hard.  As a family we’ve gone through so much.  It hasn’t been only me and my health that has had struggles.  We all had some.  What I’m proud of most is that we all, in our own ways, fought hard to keep on keeping on.  Some of the challenges were scary or intimidating, while others were just yucky or tiring.  We supported each other and grew stronger though, and that means we are that much tougher starting out this new year.  We are ready and we will push forward.

Whenever life hands you a line to tow, and it’s hard and you aren’t sure you can do it, remember that you just need to hang on one day at a time.  You can do it, and you will build up muscles you never knew you needed.  You will get stronger.

Happy New Year, from all of us Campbells.  We wish you well.  Grab hold of Lucky’13 and rock it.  It’s gonna be a great one!

-Christi and crew