Homemade granola in very large quantities, tacos in large quantities, mac'n'cheese in large quantities, okay so FOOD in general in LARGE quantities: "today I'm praying for" hearts on the wall: intentional date nights: K-Love radio: the big yellow van: Brio devotionals in the field: basketball smack talk: "nose to the door" discipline: family room dance sessions: "Stand and Eat Liver" movie night (I'll explain that one later!): feeling a baby move inside her momma for the first time:
These are just a few of the first things that pop into my head when I think about the family that moved in across the street from me when I was in third or fourth grade. The Kircher Family. When they moved in, they had six children, and I'll never forget the moving truck and the car that came along side, as it pulled up and they started unloading! As the youngest of four kids, and my siblings all being a lot older than me, I was elated when out of the vehicle came Aaron (my sister's age), Elise (a few years older than me), Jeremy (my age), Daniel, Abby, and Caleb! My heart soared!!! Little did I know they would not only playmates, but kids I would feel like a sibling to in a few years. Kevin and Judy quickly became good friends with my folks as our families shared the love of Jesus Christ as our common denominator. Over the years, the Kircher family added two more to their ranks, sweet little Bethany and Madeline just before I was leaving for college. Eight children in all made Judy my inspiration in mothering. I would go to their house sometimes and just sit on the couch reveling in the "chaos" that was a large family. Elise doing laundry, the boys working in the yard, Caleb speaking louder than any child has a right to just because he wanted his mommas undivided attention, the baby being rocked, dinner in the oven, maybe two time outs happening at the same time! Oh how I hated when the phone rang and my mom called me home! Judy ran their household in such a magnificent way. Kevin, the strong spiritual leader of their home impacted me greatly. I never spent a lot of time around him, as he was at work when I would go play and usually when he came home it was time for me to go home for dinner. Occasionally our families would get together to fellowship or to go to events together, but mostly it was the joy of being neighbors. The Kirchers always joked that they never needed to buy tools or outdoor items, because they could just borrow them from us! Judy was sad the day we planted a tree in our front yard because it blocked her view from their picture window into ours! We shared the same floor plan in our houses so when we decided to take out the front hall closets to open things up a bit, they liked it so much they did it too! (Although, there went Jeremy's spot for putting his nose to the door when he was in trouble!) They also added a partition in the rather large family room downstairs to make an extra bedroom for Elise. This change was kinda fun as Elise and I spent many hours hanging out, sharing a love of ballet, working on the Teen Chronicle together, even having a few major disagreements (remember our discussion on speaking in tongues? or your love of country music that at the time I thought was horrible?)!
I mentioned the movie night in my opening paragraph, and it brings a smile to my face whenever I think about that evening. My family had watched a movie we thought was really good and wanted to share it with the Kirchers. We decided to have a Movie Night together and all pile into the Kirchers living room to watch the film together. My dad noticed that Daniel was less than enthusiastic about the evening and when he asked him why, Daniel replied "Well, I don't really like liver very much." Puzzled my dad quizzed Daniel a bit more realizing that he had misunderstood the title of the movie. The movie was called "Stand and Deliver", but Daniel heard "stand and eat liver"!
In the Kircher's house they had a decorative wooden heart shaped peg board. There were three pegs on each side, and one peg in the middle. Each little hanging heart had a child's name on it. Each day the peg in the middle held a child's name in rotation so that each child had their day to be prayed for. I was so impressed by this and the way it opened the door for communication of what the child wanted their parents to pray for. I also really admired how in turn each week Kevin or Judy would take a child out on a date. Their boys were gentlemen and their daughters learned how to be treated by a gentleman. They were very intentional about the time spent individually with each child and it shows in the godly lives their kids are leading today.
I'm running out of time to say all the things I want to. The Kircher family impacted my life so profoundly by their love of Christ, their dedication to their family, their hospitality to me (even though Judy always wanted me to eat more than physically possible!) and the example they lived out before me during some very impressionable years. I am who I am because of the love they shared with me. Each and every child making their own imprint on my life. I'm forever grateful.