Monday, April 23, 2012

Weathering Loss Together {love letter}

Dear Scott,

Seven years ago we were newlyweds.
It was only the April before when you asked me to be your wife.
We were in love.  We wanted to give each other everything we had.
We didn't know that April,
standing in the dark on Cavanaugh Hill, on the edge of the forest,
overlooking the Pacific shore,
when we said we wanted to share in everything together,
we didn't know what the next spring would bring.
The next year would mean we would share in heartbreaking loss.
That April we waited with tears for the day our son would be
born to us & lost to us.
But we were blessed to share it together.

I have heard that pain & loss can pull a marriage apart.
That is what the surveys say, I guess.
This storm crashed around us.
But the waves of our pain pulled us into each other.
We learned a deeper part of vulnerability.
Our pain & loss taught us more about love in real life.

Thank you for bearing my burdens in grief.
Thank you for trusting me to bear your burdens in loss.
I am grateful that God used sorrow to bind us together.

As we go forward sharing in everything, I know there will be more we will lose.
Big & small disappointment.  Big & small pain.
Whatever I may lose, whatever you may lose, let's suffer the loss together.

I love you more than I did that night I said yes to living (& losing) with you.
So much more.

Marriage Letters is a weekly project concocted by Amber & Seth & Joy & Scott
as a way to encourage each other in building up our marriages.
Joy is hosting the link up where you can read all the letters this week, 
written on the topic of "Enduring Loss Together".

This is Spring, Here & Now

Last week when friends were leaving our house, post play time, 
Gillian shouted out, "Have a happy spring!"
She is really fascinated with spring & the seasons.
I love it.

Spring here & now means that my bush of love, i.e. my snowball bush, is in full bloom.
They are the prettiest flowers in the world. 
Kendall was sitting pretty on our little park bench from her Papa.
She has turned the corner from baby to toddler.  
She walks everywhere now.
That adorable flat foot stomping, rather bow legged walking.
She is also really good at answering "yes" or "no" with head nodding & wagging.
It makes us laugh.

Spring here & now means we have so many carrots from our farm share.  
All I want to do with them is make the best carrot cake in the world.
I can't get Moira to say she wants carrot cake for her birthday.  
Every time I ask her, she says she wants Chocolate.

Here, right now, we are getting ready to go to Butte Valley, 
our twice yearly work trip to the middle of nowhere.
The kids are counting down the days.

This spring, here & now, Gillian & I are doing the reading curriculum called
Spell to Read & Write.
She is loving it!
We hope she will be reading by fall.
We also hope to go camping this summer.  We hope to have the kids learn to swim.
VBS, art classes & learning two wheel bike riding are all on the agenda.

The house here right now (& almost all the time) is rather a mess.
I want to take my vacuum in for a tune-up.  But, how can I part with it for longer than a day?
I don't even want to know how nasty things would be.

Right now, this week, I am going to be baking for a local Cupcake Kids sale.
Have you heard of Sixty Feet?  It is a ministry to children in Uganda who live in prison.
Yes - children behind bars!  Go here to learn more.
Have a sale of your own, right where you live.
Or, if you life in Santa Cruz area, come to Catherine's bake sale on Saturday!

Right now this spring, we are trying to raise some funds for our adoption.
Did you know that Lifesong for Orphans has approved us for a matching funds grant?
Yes!  If you want to give a tax deductible gift to our adoption, 
Our family account number is 2627.  
If you give to Lifesong for our adoption, just reference Adams #2627.
You can also still buy coffee from Just Love as part of our fundraiser.
All your gifts, whether to the Lifesong account, or by buying Just Love coffee
will be matched by a good friend of ours, up to $5,000!
That is on top of Lifesong's matching fund gift of $2,500.

Right now I am thinking about the sermon we heard yesterday.
It was about how God gives hope for the control freaks of the world.
I wish I could have forced all of the control freaks I know to be there.
(oh the irony...)
I would rate myself as being at a reasonable spot on the scale of being controlling.
(Because I would only desire to be controlling when it seems reasonable, you know?)
AND YET, somehow the Holy Spirit was still able to convict my heart.
How much I have to give back to God!  
I am called to walk by faith & trust Him, even (& especially) when things don't go how I like.
Fear is the opposite of faith.  It is fear that drives us to try to take control.
We've got to give our fears & pride to Jesus & wait on Him.
And when I do my own thing & "mess things up", my gracious God can redeem that.
Jesus the Redeemer, even for control freaks.

That is some of our right here & now stuff this spring.
How about your's?  What are up to, planning, thinking about?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

All that Day to Day Stuff {knowing}

As special as parent/child dates can be,
I think there is something more essential to building a trusting & knowing connection.
All that normal day to day stuff of life.  That is important.
The stuff like eating, loading the dishwasher, pulling weeds, 
digging holes, folding laundry, being sick, 
waking up to go potty in the middle of the night, scraping knees, 
reading stories, getting hurt feelings, and so on & so forth.
That stuff, the stuff which may seem boring, meaningless, uncomfortable 
- it has great worth.
That is the knowing of real life.  
That is where people really get to know each other.

The foundation for a strong relationship is not going to appear terribly fancy.
Just being together, you will grow to know each other.  

I think there is so much value in sharing simple times together, even (& especially) 
if you are not a parent who gets to spend the majority of your time with your kids.
Scott works full-time outside of the home 
& he wishes he could spend more time with the kids.
(But we are really grateful for all the time we do have.  
Lunch home almost daily.  Only 10 minute drive to work.  Work travel together...)
He feels like he misses so much.

Maybe you have felt the same at times?
Sometimes when you aren't the parent who gets to be there all the time, 
you may believe that the time you do have should be 
super-duper special-exciting all fancied-up with bells on.
We are not pretending to know everything here.  
But, do you mind if I tell you our ideas on the matter?
It may be a big mistake to use all your time together doing big outings & super fun things.

Our kids do think dad is fun, because he is.  (But, not all the time.)
He doesn't take them to do fun things every weekend.  
We do a lot of being together at home boring kind of stuff.
And even though he is not the full-time at home parent, 
he is actively participating in all the boring day to day stuff when he is here.
That means he knows the kids well.  He is very present when he is here.
He does not feed them constant entertainment.  He does normal living with them.

We try to not make life too exciting. 
A lot about home & family is built on all that basic, boring day to day stuff.
A lot of the knowing take place in the midst of the ordinary.
We don't want to leave dad out of the real home life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Trust You Because... {a love letter}

Dear Scott,

I trust you.  It would be hard not to.

You are a trust-worthy sort of man.  You don't aim to charm, to impress, to attract.
You aim to be honest & true.
(I find that very attractive & rather impressive, by the way.)

You don't speak kindness to me to get something you want.
You speak kindness to me because you love me.
You wash the dishes because you want to serve me.
You tell me you can't believe how lucky you are, because you mean it.
You don't act or speak to control or manipulate.
I trust your motives.  I've always seen you to be a man of integrity.

When you tell me how madly you love me, it is hard to believe.
Only because, I wonder how can you be so gracious to me.
Can your love for me really cover all the multitudes of my sins?
But I trust your sincerity.  I trust your honesty.  I trust your love.

When you tell me all those things you say, about how I look to you -
you know the stuff - the stuff that seems hyperbole to me, or all together not true,
I trust they are true to you.
I hear it in your voice.  I see it in your eyes.
It seems your heart is completely visible to me.
And I trust it.

I trust you because I think I would have to be completely paranoid not to.
I can't help it.

I trust you because I trust that God gave us a good gift in each other.
I trust He will give us enough love & forgiveness to live in honesty together.

I plan to always love you,

Source: via Lauren on Pinterest

Marriage Letters is a weekly writing project you can find at Amber's place - The Run a Muck.
This week's topic is I Trust You Because...

Friday, April 13, 2012

They Saw Me {knowing}

I am from a big family.  The third child of ten children.
I loved it.  I still love it.
Living in a big family does not mean that you need to go through life unknown.

Your identity to many may be, "you are a Lutz, one of many."
And when you have a really amazing older sister,
who is well known amongst your circles as being an awesome teacher,
some people may often assume you have the same set of skills & passions.
But my mom & dad knew me.

My mom always said I was creative.  She told me that & she told other people.
She encouraged me in taking classes at the junior college in furniture design & building.
(Okay, she tried to get everyone in the family to take that class, but still.
She encouraged me.)
She carried on in the sewing lessons, through all the tears & the drama & the "I can't do it!"
She had a hunch that I actually could do it.

My parents saw that I cared about people
& they encouraged me in my various service endeavors.
My dad helped get me jobs where I could help take care of people.

I had to do things I didn't like, too.
They didn't say, only do the things that make you happy.
That's not reality, right?  We all have to do things that are tough & not really our "thing."
But they knew what "things" were.  They saw me.  And loved me.
And they still do.

All that to say, a big family does not mean you will automatically
get muddled in with everyone, without the chance to be seen.
My parents helped to instill confidence in me.  Confidence in who God made me.
I love them for that & I love who God made me.

(And my sister who is an excellent teacher?
She is teaming up with me to help teach my big girl how to read.
Thanks for sharing your skills & passions with us!
Your niece is beyond excited.)

this is just some of the family here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Than Enough

Easter breakfast involved sweets.  
The kids had been awaiting the Easter morning table with much anticipation, 
for the last 40 days.
Oh, the beautiful food!
Cinnamon Bread, lemonade, strawberries & whipping cream...  
plus a few goodies in an easter basket.

Dressed & out the door for church by 8.  
Daddy had already left at 7am.
Quick photo, in case I didn't remember the rest of the day.
I didn't realize Peyton was sans socks.  
Oh well!

Back from church, where the children had more sweets.  
They are still surviving, but are very ready for naps.
I wish for a nap while I make the Earl Grey Lavender Frosting.  Remember this cake?
It really worked for Easter dessert.  
Anyway, right after nap, we headed to Grandma & Grandpa's for more sugar & lovelies.

After the egg hunt, the kids stick the tail on the bunny.
Isn't my sister Lizzy a great artist?  Check out Peter Rabbit!!

The fun & sugar level was high!

Upon arriving home Sunday night, all candy went into the common bowl of candy.
One piece after dinner time, if you eat it, is the candy rule.
We had more than enough sugar that day.
(But the lovely food was beyond sugar, ham, smoked chicken, sweet potato gratin...)

Here it is Thursday & I don't think we have quite recovered.  
The tears & drama & crazy level has been rather high.
Monday morning, Moira burst into violent tears because 
daddy had left his work hat at home.
That is an example of the sorts of things that inspire drama here.
The next day, we were talking about how there was going to be no more sugar for the day,
 because it didn't make us feel good to eat that much, etc.
Gillian's admonishment to us was, "When you have too much sugar, 
your tummy feels really bad & your body gets really mad at you for doing that, 
so you need to not eat anymore."
Okay Dr. Gillian.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Things I Love About Dating my Kids {Knowing}

In our little family we have a established a habit of parent-child dates.
It is fairly new for us.  As a regular deal, we've been doing it for
maybe the last 3 or 4 months.
Our kids love it, I know.
But, here is why I love dating.

I love the focus, the lack of distractions.
It gives me a space to really just enjoy who they are.
On our outing, I look at all those sweet,
maybe "childish" things that they do & smile.

My Moira dancing & singing in the produce section of the grocery store is delightful
when it is just us.
If I have the whole gang, I have to ask her to stay close, hold onto the cart,
so she doesn't get separated.

Gillian can talk & talk & talk & talk to me
without the concerns of no one else getting a turn to talk.
When we are on a date, it is just us.

When Peyton & I are out together, I can tune into his quiet & subtle sense of humor.
I can take notice of it all because it is just me & him.

I know I need these times to know them well as individuals & build connections.
I love knowing my kids through parent-child dates.

**Exploring the knowing of our children in a little blog series.  
Post number one is here.

(The Daddy & I take turns through the rotation of the 3 big kids.  He doesn't take the camera with him though...
He needs to figure that one out.  Embrace the Camera!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The All-Mysterious, All-Important Knowing

As a parent, I think one of the biggest jobs we have is to know our kids.
Isn't that central to a peaceful home & happy family?  
Being who you really are, understood & loved in all that,
is what makes family so special.

But, like a lot of parenting & relationships, there is no formula for knowing.
It's a bit mysterious, right?
Knowing requires continual learning & growing.  
It will always be changing & will never be fully grasped by us.

Can I tell you one of those "lines" that I hear often
about having a lot of kids that I never know how to answer?
"What's one more, when you have that many, right?!"
I get it.  I may have even said it in reverse more than once.
("I can hardly handle my two?  How do you do it?"
It is not so terribly different parenting four.)
It is true that the day to day operations of being a parent are quite similar
no matter the number of kids.
You have to be awake to take care of them, you need to feed them, 
you can't just head out for alone time, without making a bunch of arrangements 
to make sure the kid(s) are cared for.  And on & on, right?
But (and it is a big but) there is so much more than all that.  
And the saying, "what's one more?" really bothers me because
that one more is a whole different person.
That one more child is completely unique.  
For a parent, that is huge.  Another little person to learn to know.

To know your child well means you know how they need to be loved.
You know how to teach them effectively.
You know how to discipline them with understanding.
You know how to treat them with respect.
You know how to be patient & offer grace.
You know how to make them feel at home with you.

I know I am no expert at knowing.  I know that.
I know I want to be intentional in learning to know each of my kids.
Let's do a blog series on this, shall we?
I have some things rattling in my brain &
I have some hopes for some guest posts, too.