Friday, December 30, 2016

my last blogpost

It is the Thursday after Christmas, and things are moving pretty slowly here at the Rice Ranch. Madison was up before any of the other children this morning… Sam and I took her out to the living room to play, as her baby babbling is loud enough to wake up Hayden and Lily these days. We had been sandwiched in between the three of them in our bed, and as soon as Madison started chattering, we knew she wasn't going back to sleep. Baby bunny is loud.

We wedged ourselves together into the big armchair in our living room, Madison sitting on Sam's lap and me curled up beside him. For twenty minutes we sat there, in the quiet of the morning, listening to Madison talk and soaking up her sweetness.

 I know I've said this here before with Hayden, because I really did think he was our last baby… but knowing Madison is truly our last just makes us appreciate her all the more. 

I feel like I have to qualify this, by saying that every single baby we've had has been loved and appreciated and valued. Every single baby I have said to Sam – this might be our last baby, let's make sure to enjoy every little moment of their babyhood, OK? 

And yet I'm sure there have been moments I have missed… Because sometimes life just has a way of interfering with our desire for things to slow down, for busyness not to invade, you know? I'm sure that if I had the chance to do it all over again there are things I would intentionally push off my plate to make room for enjoying what is right in front of me. In hindsight there were many times when I could have been soaking up the moment rather than planning planning planning for what was ahead. 

But I am thankful for wiser, older moms who gave me wisdom years ago, when Jason was a newborn: enjoy these moments, because before you know it that baby will be a man. 

(Jason and his wife have some exciting news, and you can go HERE to read all about it!)

Don't let the day's troubles weigh you down so much that you don't savor these moments when your children are little. 

date with Jackson

miss bunny, enjoying the tree !!

Looking back, I am grateful that (for the most part) I heeded their advice, even if there were times when I forgot it. Although there were days when all I could think about was bedtime, counting down the hours till I had some moments to myself... I am thankful that the words of those moms were always at the back of my head. Those morsels of truth, spoken by moms who had experienced them theirselves, were there to remind me that life is like a vapor and before I knew it, my babies would be having babies of their own.
my babies and my grandbabies

I'm sure I'm not alone in this – the days after Christmas always make me a little nostalgic. 

Maybe it's because things have finally slowed down for the month... all the planning and shopping and anticipation and festivities and excitement have crescendoed, and now in this quiet space afterwards there is room to think and breathe and ponder.

 And maybe it's the prospect of a new year before me…goals for the days ahead swimming around in my brain, hopes and dreams of what I want this next year to look like... Madison turns one next month and I'm deep in the throes of planning a party for both her and Lily, as their birthdays are only two days apart. I've spent the last few days reflecting on how quickly this year has passed since she entered our lives, realizing that this is the last time we will celebrate a "first" birthday, at least for one of our own babies.

Or maybe it's a combination of all of the above . 

But whatever the reason, this time of the year always makes me a little sentimental. 

north pole party I did for the kids in our church

(video credit : Mackenzie)

I'm not going to call it after Christmas blues, because blue is not really the true color of what I'm feeling this week. It's not sadness, or let down… it's more a feeling of gratitude mixed with a desire to do it all over again. It's a feeling of wanting to make sure I'm doing all of this right… hoping I am living out the words of those wise moms before me by enjoying and appreciating this season of life when I have little ones in my home.

Hayden is three right now, which is just about my favorite age for children at Christmas. He was old enough to know what was coming this month  – constantly poking at his presents under the tree and counting down the days until he could open them… and young enough to have a sense of awe and wonder at the magic of it all. I lost count of how many times I said to Sam - wouldn't you love to be three at Christmas again? I want to go back and feel what he felt this month - because it was evident to all of us what he was feeling. The look of wonder in his eyes on Christmas morning… the grin on his face when he saw that Santa had filled his stocking and eaten the cookies we'd left out for him… The excitement in his voice every morning until Christmas when he asked what our elf Flannery had done the night before....

There are few things sweeter than experiencing the joy of Christmas through the eyes of your child. In a year and a few months I will be fifty ... FIFTY!! ... but watching my little boy's wonder through the holidays made me feel like a child again. 

church Christmas village we hosted 

(Christmas morning video, again created by Mackenzie)

And then there was Lily .. she is turning seven next month, two days before her sister turns one. It hardly seems possible that seven years have flown by as quickly as they did - our baby is a big girl now. And yet there is still such an innocence to her, such a sweet and tender spirit, and watching her joy throughout the month of December made me wish she would never grow out of that awe. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say – and as usual I am a bit rambling in saying it - is that I don't want to lose that either. I don't want to lose my sense of awe and wonder at what God is doing in my life right now. There is a place for reflecting on and pondering and appreciating the past. There is certainly a need to plan and set goals and strive for better things in the future.

But in the midst of all that – I want 2017 to be the year that I am intentionally present. 

first snow of the year at the rice ranch

I want to purpose in my heart to enjoy every day, whatever it brings me. I don't want any worries about the future or regrets about the past to rob me of all the miracles that are happening today. Let's be real – there are always going to be things we wish we did differently. There are always going to be things on our to do list for tomorrow… bills to pay, meals to plan, appointments to be made, parties to attend... I just don't want to be in a hurry to get there. I want to make sure that I am present for those I love. Present for my husband, present for my children, present for those I love... I want to be fully present and aware and appreciative of all the Lord is doing in my life today.

jackson's tenth birthday

And now it is Friday after Christmas. Tomorrow is the last day of 2016, and the future is bright with promise. I'm writing this scripture down as my motto for the new year, and writing it in my heart as well ...

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It's my last blogpost for 2016, and I really would love to hear from you... what is your "word" for 2017 ? If you could choose just one little word, what would it be ?

Mine is "present"... what is yours ?

See you next year !!

Xo Patti 


Kristy Sayer-Jones @ Southern In Law said...

I think present is the perfect word for 2017 - and I think that will certainly be one of mine too. Last year was my year of saying no but this year I'm thinking it needs to be a year of hope. We have some very challenging things ahead of us but I know that if we live filled with hope and knowledge of just how great God's plan is for us (even when it mightn't feel like it!), it'll be a great year.

Race Bannon said...

Mine is...whatever

Superman said...

Race, that is so rude.

Heidi said...

I think mine is "patience" or "take it slow," which is really hard for me. It's been three or so years of near constant upheaval, and I just want things to settle down already. I want to skip all the hard stuff of finding our place in (another) new church community, and I want to skip all the hard work of making new friends. I want all of that NOW, and I want my kids to have all of that now too. Sigh. I hate being patient, and I feel a little panicky at the thought that maybe we won't ever find a new place for us. Which is probably why I need patience to be my word for this year!

Grammi Faith said...

Brandon, I think it depends on a person's tone of voice. My word is "whatever" and by that I mean: whatever God's plan is for me I will try to accept, be it good or not really to my liking. Maybe my word should be "strength" or "acceptance". The past is gone, the future is out of our hands, and the present is truly a "present" we should appreciate. Good choice Patti.

Cindy said...

Mine is more of a small phrase but I've been trying to remember: This isn't my life I'm living, it's His. I need to be willing to help others more and not be so hesitant to give.

Charlotte said...


K said...


I want to give myself and those close to me more grace every day--grace to BE, grace to grow, grace to make mistakes.

Krista said...

I have been a long time follower of your blog and am so excited for your son and daughter in law. I was interested in the clinic they are using and realized it is very close to where I live. If at anytime Jason, Naomi and the kids need a place to stay I would love to open our home to them. We are about 45 miles from the clinic but I know the journey is not cheap so if it could help I would be more than happy to have them stay with us. Please email me at at anytime.

I have 6 kiddos from FET's so I know the excitement of this adventure!!

Krista Lesnau

Patti said...

That is so kind ! I will pass this along to Naomi, thank you !

Krista said...

Great, thank you!

And I should have added my blog to my comment so she knows I'm not some creeper!! (I have not updated it in months but we are real people)

ellefinn said...

Oh Patti! I thought 'last blog post' meant you were closing your blog...and I was so disappointed. I love looking at your photos and seeing your babies growing up. Happy new year!

Jennie said...

Intentional gratitude.

Patti, Sincerely hope it is not your final blogpost, but rather it is your last blogpost for 2016. The picture of a smiling Bunny in the sink and holding her right foot~~beyond precious.

Blessings for 2017.

katrynka said...

I was thinking the same as Elle above and I was really sad. So happy to read that it was just the last for 2016!

My brain doesn't work well to distal all my maelstrom of desires, goals, needs etc into one word! But I do like your word, it's a good one!

Davilyn said...


Kathy McElhaney said...


I've been writing a post in my head for several days but it hasn't happened yet. 2017 I want to focus on what really mattters, I focused on things that did not too much in 2016.

So glad this is not your last ever post! Can't believe Miss Lily is going to be 7. I think she was 2 when I started reading your blog.

Mallett and Associates said...

We just finished a year of "GRACE" but I'll take another because God has been so good to us!
The words "your baby will soon be a man" resounded so much to me too.
Glad your last blog posting for 2016 is not your last one!

cathy said...

My Dear Friend-that was simply a beautiful post, every single word & picture-

Mariah said...

This is a beautiful post, Patti! I love love love the idea and practice of 'present.' My word is bold. As in boldly come before the Throne. Boldly be the woman God wants me to be. Do not be afraid of their bold in what I do for God, as He directs. I didn't have a word for this year, until I was praying yesterday morning, first day of the fast, and it came to me, from God Himself, it seemed. But whether it was Him, or my own mind, it resonates with me and where I'm "at" during this season of my life and looking at a new year. And may I be so bold as to suggest, that I feel a tiny bit of the pleasure of God in it. 😉

Mary said...


Unknown said...

There's something coming out of my eyes after reading your post. I really needed to hear this right now. Thank you.

mom of three said...

Hope. Happy New Year to all who are a part of the phenomenal Rice Ranch!

magnificent7 said...

Joy! Sometimes I feel so caught up in the busy-ness and monotony of daily life. Eight kids is work, but it is also incredibly joy-filled. I want to focus more on the joy and less on the work. And I want it to be authentic joy. I get so down on myself if I'm not living up to a pinterest version of motherhood. So no more comparing in 2017, just focus on how incredibly blessed I am!

The girls said...

I love reading all your blog and instagram posts! You are just so inspiring; you have such grace, to me, when it comes to parenting and the Lord. That said, I don't have a single word for this year, but two phrases. Choose happy! and CONSIDER fitness. :) No pressure.

all10popes said...

Focus. Col. 3:1-3 Focus upward. Focus on what is before me. Focus on the narrow path. Focus on what matters and not on what others are doing or saying. Focus on the Word. Focus on Christ and who I am in HIM. Focus.

MyMy said...

THank you for writing this post, dear Patti. Hoping for the future and enjoying the present, and remembering the past...finding the balance between all the three.. I would like to be more concentrated on the present next year, enjoying and finding the God's hand in whatever that present has to offer... And my second word - I hope for a father for my daughter, a husband for myself, a full family in the next year. I would enjoy that the most!