Friday, March 9, 2018

What's Next??

A number of days ago I found myself caught up in the reminiscing of when our three handsome gents were little. My eyes were practically glued to the screen as I read and reread blog posts from years ago. And yet while scanning the stories through gigglish laugher and tear-stinging eyes, I felt like it was just yesterday my littles were running underneath and all around my feet. It put a somewhat painful perspective on how quick these days are racing by us and surely not slowing down anytime soon. 

Even though the "New Year" has come and long-gone, and March made it's appearance comin' in like a lamb, the MN winter is hanging on as the Bold North is beautifully showcasing it's bitter purity a lot lately. Snow covered grounds from north to south. But as we find our way rounding the corner into spring-time, head first into our Spring Break from school, I'm grateful I can pause from the normal routine of life to do some pondering....some reflection... finally do some writing that I may have even started, deleted, started again, deleted, started..... weeks ago but just never made it past that first paragraph. Life. Racing by. 

Love this crazy family of boyz of mine ...too much fun :) 

I should probably back the train up quite a bit as I realize exactly how much time has lapsed -- noting all that has happened and all that we have done within our family and beyond over these past months. We've enjoyed extended family visits for unexpected reasons, continued building relationships as we make this surrounding community our home, cheered from the bleachers, celebrated a variety of birthdays, had a variety of school functions and "all things school" inbetween.....  and yet with all of that, we still find ourselves all too often looking ahead to that 'what's next' while we're smack dab in the midst of doing our best to diving into whatever activity/trial/event/etc. that's literally right in front of us. 

Swish!! Way to go CJ 

So fun having uncle Mitch & aunt Heather at the game!

An unexpected visit & we soaked it up--loved time with PJ!
Christmas came and went with one fell swoop but we basked in the preciously few silent mornings sipping on coffee, the silliness and adventures that came our way, and yes...this gal tuned into the Hallmark channel whenever such a moment presented itself. 

I have no shame. :) 
Christmas hayride with the cousins! #farmlife

Christmas Eve 2017!
my 3 crazies on Cmas Eve ;) 

Sporting some of their 'favs'!! 

Games with Grams!

Laughing with Gramps!

Ice fishing fun with daddy!! 

Keeping warm on the ice! :) Hot cocoa is a staple...

Nothing like playing a little hockey in the driveway!

As football season rounded the final sharp corner for its yearly photo-finish, I held on with that Bold North hope that my Vikes would defy the odds and record books and play in a hometown Super Bowl. But that wasn't what was next after an exciting, heart-wrenching playoff sequence. 

O.N.E game away from history-making news in the NFL world. My heart may still hurt a little. But somehow, we move on to whatever's next for the purple and gold. Losses and all, this family had some FUN football game nights alongside some dear friends. Living in the moment. 

However....baseball anyone?!?! It's what's next! And spring training has commenced! :) 

Purple Pride...no matter what! #Bringithome 


I'm guessing like you, we're always peering around the corner in anticipation of what it is that's awaiting us. We can't even make it to the actual day of a holiday without the next one being shoved in our face. I don't really like the fact that I have the option of buying Valentine chocolates on December 26th when I'm still indulging (and perhaps baking...) those delectably irresistible Christmas cookies, or that I can buy Easter candy on Valentine's Day!! (but then again, those creamy pastel-colored Cadbury eggs.....)
CJ headin' to the hoop...

Carson for 2!! 

Homecoming week at Legacy--sports day!! 

 LCA Pridewear Day--We love Legacy!

Sometimes that anticipation we're anxiously peering around the corner to find isn't met with eager excitement but rather a hopeless dread. Maybe not even hopeless. Just dread. We actually know exactly what's coming next and we really don't want to face it. Especially face it head-on. And we'll never understand why God calls us to face it sometimes. 


Carson's the jump-man!

Such a fun season of basketball with these Legacy boys!! 

A conversation with seniors that lends itself to looking beyond these last 9 weeks of high school into the "what's next?!" phase as decisions of attending college collide with those mounding scholarship applications. Look at those definitely, but it's not about looking so intently at the 'what's next' that the here and now is completely missed. Talk about a delicate balance!

Legacy basketball...a prayer circle at center court and "tunnel" fan-made for the players. :) 

I'm not sure if it's a normal pre-teenage/first born thing to constantly want to know what's next .... I know, I talked about the widening scope of this pre-teen parenting season before but once again, help me out if you're tracking with me even in the least little bit. Anyone else experience the barrage of questions on a Friday after school.... "what are we doing tonight? What's the plan for the weekend? What are we eating for dinner? What are we doing tomorrow? What... what... what.." always wanting to know what's next! I wish I had a nickel dollar for every time I got asked that question of .... "what's next mom?" 


And sometimes I really don't care not knowing. I like not knowing! From time to time. ;)

But of course in my pondering fashion, after replaying the incredible and very 'real' depths of varying conversations lately and the recent FFof5 life happenings, I got to thinking about how that's exactly what I do sometimes (ok, maybe often times) with my own Heavenly Father in my questioning. And the ranges of emotions accompanying that very question are dependent on those very circumstances at hand. Looking ahead with excitement at the 'what's next' on the calendar. Eagerly figuring out what it is that needs to be accomplished in order to get to that said 'what's next' and boom! Goal met!! 

But then there's theeee.... throwing my hands up in the air after one life 'collision' after another with the begging, tearful pleading question that I don't want to endure anymore but using every ounce of your being in pushing that question through hopeful, prayerful pursed lips...."what's next God?" Relatable? Probable.


So ready for spring...but the purity is breathtaking. 

when dad's away, Austin gets to snow blow!! 
A MN girl at heart--lovin' the snow!! 

Snow much fun enjoying that white fluffy goodness with these boys!! 

They could play in this for hours!! Love these handsome gents :) 
Somebody....somewhere...needs to hear that little encouragement that no matter your "what's next", there's a Savior who is Sovereign and in all the questioning and celebrating and emotional roller-coasting of life, He's it. Trust Him. He's your constant. He's the One who will answer your 'what's next'....and then take you, while walking with you, to the next one. 

I have no idea "what's next" for the Anderson family, other than what He has placed before us today. Sure, we have big dreams and futuristic goals! But also impending sorrows and character-shaping moments right in front of us. Our "what's next" needs to lie in His hands. 

Those hands are big enough to carry any size question. And hold any size hand while answering. 

Boyz night out....Go MN Wild!! 

Thanks Kraemers!! It's a Wild Win!! :) 

Forever my favorite.....

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding...."
Proverbs 3:5

Sunday, December 17, 2017

"That time of Year"....

It's here! In all it's gusto and glory!  That time of year. 

Uttering these 4 words gives a very distinctive, clear indication as to what "time" is being talked about. It creates an anxiety that is typically, and positively, worth it in the end but the process to get there can be a bit tricky (trivial??) at times. Stressful. Driven. Climatic.  Even harried as there is always more to do than not, and so much rushing about a time or two....or ten. (guilty as charged) 

For most, "that time of year" carries a tone of sheer jubilation and is shared in a voice that may be an octave higher out of child-like excitement. But for many it can carry a tone of dread and defeat, spoken in a voice that is much more somber than it's counterpart. I've met people recently that are very definitively on one side or the other. I've done my best to really pay attention and "hear" their heart, as much as they're willing to share anyway. And there are so many stories to be shared by the hearts of those we pass by daily, if only we'll take but a minute to really stop and listen. 

I. Love. These. Boys!!!
Yard work is so much fun!! :) 
Tree cutting 101

A small leaf pile....
...but it's sheer joy regardless!! :) :)

After what felt like just a few brief seconds, but was easily an entire minute or two, of engaging in what could be labeled a "surfacy" conversation with the person behind me in the check-out line at Cub Foods (grocery store), I get the feeling that she's looking for a Hallmark-movie-type-ending to her holiday season this year. There's so much more depth to her story. Wounds unhealed. Scarring taking place. Questioning and searching.  A choked-up "Merry Christmas..." with a warming smile is about all I could come up with to say as I slowly turned away from her, groceries fully bagged in my cart. A prayer lifted up for the beautiful brunette as I backed out of the parking lot, onward to my next destination.

 Legacy Soccer for Austin!

love that Grams and cousin Warren came! (even tho it was COOOOLD!!)

Deep Portage for Carson and Andy (5th grade trip through Legacy!)
father/son time!
Carson and buddy Kyle

they loved the rock wall!

Passing a parent in the hallways of Legacy, it's a brief yet practically blissful encounter that let's me clearly know the Christmas festivities are in full swing at their house, traditions being carried out to the enth degree! You couldn't erase that contagious smile stretching from ear to ear no matter how hard you tried! Eyes twinkling with delight. A spring in her step as she turned to exit the double doors to the parking lot.

Students eager with giddy anticipation as we count down the number of 'sleeps' in our classroom until it's finally Christmas. The energy is contagious. Family reunions that once caused angst now cause the shedding of long-awaited joyful tears. 

First snowfall of the season....


Austin before...
...and after!! Why does he look so much older?!?!

It's hunting time!!! And it's always better with friends. :) Anderson's & Mulvihill's
Love spending time with my Ames! :)
Playing a little fox and geese with Grandma!! :)
meat for the freezer! Yay!!!!
So many people this time of year are searching....yearning....longing for the "magic" of Christmas to be apparent in their lives. Evident. Real. Yet, deep down they know it's more than the beautiful twinkling lights that colorfully adorn the streets and snow-covered rooftops of neighboring homes each and every night throughout the month of December. It's something more than the snow falling picturesquely on the chilly Christmas parade that travels down main street. It's more than the tree-lighting ceremony and nightly Christmas office parties. 

And some of them come to realize it's not really "magic" at all. 

It's more like..... Miraculous. In every sense of the word. It all started with God's divine plan brought to earth. A plan that would be carried out in a young & humbly servant-minded Mary. With a baby born to be King. Born to die. And all because He loves an imperfect you, perfectly. 

(A few more picture highlights as we continue our Anderson countdown to Christmas!!)

Happy Birthday Mason!!! (8)

Birthday at the farm! Grandma knows our boy loves the Vikes!
So fun celebrating with the cousins :)

Happy Birthday Carson!!! (11)
Bowling party!
Birthday with his bros ;)

Legacy Middle School Basketball for Carson...love this team of boys!!!!
Carson has some up's!!!
Way to steal #54!
Praying before the game--it doesn't get much better than that.

He shoots.....he scores! :)

The stockings were hung...
I love it when the boys do the lighting and tree trimming! #HOME :)
To really capture the "spirit of Christmas" (if you will) means to capture Jesus. He's it. All of it. And while you're standing in one of the longest lines of the year buying that last carton of egg nog at the grocery store, share a little bit of Jesus with the clerk behind the counter and with that person behind you. Be a blessing. Let Him prompt you to help make another's Christmas real rather than magical. Without Christ, there would be no CHRISTmas! Make Him a big deal. And as you gather together with family & friends  & neighbors, we pray "that time of year" is one that brings a truly heartfelt, JOYful smile.  
I love my crazy fun family of gents :)
MERRY CHRISTMAS from our home to yours!!