Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back to School---My reality

Today, it is so quiet in my house that I can actually hear words tumbling in my brain.  It's kind of freaking me out.
Back to school day brings out so many emotions.
Happiness, well, because, as mentioned before I can hear the thoughts in my mind.  Excitement because of all the new friends to be made, concepts to master, and new things to experience.
Yet, I have a few things to admit.
I feel guilty this year, too.  Because of my job, because of money (i.e. gas money...I get that we are less than a mile from the school...but starting my car and shutting it off at least six times a day for school runs really wears on my car and my gas mileage) and yes, because of convenience, I put my kids on a bus this morning.  I know my children will only be on the bus for approx six minutes each way, but that adds up to an hour every 5 day week.  What words will they hear in those six minutes?  What things will they see?  Will they be made fun of?  Will they make fun of someone else?  
School is one thing, but the bus, it just seems like a cruel, hard world.  And, I'm the one who spent the summer making phone calls and sending emails to make it happen.  (Dear Lord, please, remind me that millions of kids ride a bus every single day, and they are not hardened criminals by the end of fourth grade....)
I also have a feeling I'm the only parent who is sending their kids with last years' backpacks and lunch boxes, non-new underwear, and a wardrobe whose only fresh items have come from fabulous handmedowns. (Thanks Aunt Robin!!!)  It's not that I couldn't have bought my kids a new wardrobe.  I had a little bit of extra cash from end of summer babysitting jobs, but really, I couldn't justify buying clothes with it, when my family likes to eat and see in the dark! (Yeah, I could have used my credit card...but that's for EMERGENCIES...and Back to School, contrary to popular belief, is NOT an emergency) If I don't want my kids to be spoiled, I am the one who has to control the buying of things.  Even Lydia's sparkly binder was a passed down VBS binder from the Shine curriculum.  I did buy a whole new crayola set for approximately $2.83 during Wal-Mart's super cheap school supply sale, so I should get a bonus point or two for that.
I also am sending them into the great unknown without having met their teachers.  Like, one I have seen in the hall, but I can't remember what she looks like...and the other just came from another school and I really have no clue who she is. This also is a first for me.  I did email one of the teachers, so does that count?
*Sigh*  Parenting.  Whatever.  Can I just say I must prefer to be the mom of KIDS instead of STUDENTS.  I miss summer already.  Optional bathing, fun reading, and no stressing over vowel sounds, IEP's, or multiplication.
So basically, here, back to school was "Put on your old clothes, let me throw you on a giant bus with swearing kids, and let them ship you to people I don't know" day.  
Yeah, I'm awesome.
And, even though that may sound sarcastic, I'm not really being sarcastic.  I think I'm revisiting what life was like for parents maybe thirty or forty years ago.  And you know what?  I'm not stressed out.  I'm not broke.  And, besides learning some swear words on the bus, I think my kids are going to be okay. (But, let's just pray that none of the kids on the bus even know bad words, kay?) 
I prayed over them at breakfast this morning, reminded them they are to be a light to a world that needs love, and sent them out boldly..with a lot of emotions...but boldy still.
And to top it all off, I get a chance to drink coffee uninterrupted, and write a blog.  So, bam.  Today rocks.  And we are all going to be just fine.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Business Cards

I've decided I'm ordering business cards.
With my blog address on them.
I shared my blog address with a friend a couple days ago, and just knowing that I may have a potential new reader was enough to light the "blogging fire."
And apparently I think having my blog website listed on a business card would be easy enough to motivate me.  So, yeah, I'm going to do that.

And to the 41 one of you who are already reading my blog...I'm sorry I haven't blogged since April.  I didn't mean to ignore you.  I just have been "busy" raising children, playing with kids, breaking bones, traveling, reading, hammocking, front porch sitting, roller derby reffing, injuring myself more, running a VBS, hosting Elena from Spain, and cooking.  You know...the norm.

But, these last few days I've taken a break from chaos and allowed myself to rest.  And I keep coming back to writing.  And how good it feels to see my thoughts flesh out with help of the blinking cursor.  I have started a new notebook to journal in.  I have been writing little love "sentences" to David (he's working so many hours he does not have time for a whole note...)

Writing is who I's what I do...and I hope to remember, with the help of those business cards, that I can still write---no matter what is happening around me.  I don't have to have some original idea that is going to shock the world when I sit down to blog.  I don't have to have 1500 words all lined up. I just need to be honest, transparent, and open to the power of words.  After all, sometimes all it takes is one sentence scribbled on the back of a napkin to change your day.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Nap Time

When I walk into the room, it has a lingering smell of my morning perfume spritz.  I can also take in the faint smell of peppermint and cherry almond lotion.  When I look at the gray and yellow quilt, neatly pulled over the pillow, I feel a tiny twinge of guilt for pulling the covers back.  I hop up, just because the bed has always been a little higher off the ground than I can reach.  I slide my feet deep under the covers and kick off my socks, and wiggle my toes to soak up the silkiness of the well worn cotton sheet.  Once my feet have found their spot, I use my newly free toes to grab the pillow that was hiding under the covers. I use great effort to pull that pillow up towards my middle, and I place it under my knees.  
I wiggle my body deeper into the memory foam mattress.  I open my arms up and make a motion as if I am flapping giant wings.  I love the coolness of the sheets.  It's such a welcoming feeling.  The down comforter feels so silky and soft.  I pretend that it has been waiting for me to come in and twist its soft fabric between my thumb and pointer finger of my right hand, as I do nearly every time I climb in bed.
The brilliance of the sunlight streaming in the windows appears brilliant and perfect.  The temperature of the room is just right.  It's not hot, and it's cool enough to climb under the comforter and be completely relaxed.  You can call me Goldilocks.
My head feels the pillow and finds its well worn in spot.  The rest of pillow folds up around my ears, as to drown out all the insanity of the world.  I breathe in for four slow counts, then take my time counting from one to thirteen as I push as much air out of my abdomen as possible.  I do it again, at least 3 or 4 times.  "Thank you Jesus," I whisper deep from in my soul.  I know I'm blessed to have this moment, this place, a mini fortress to separate me from the world.
I don't want to bunker down forever.  Just a few moments.  Just enough to connect with the God who loves me.  Because, sometimes outside of this room, I feel attacked.  I feel worn.  I feel used.  I feel beaten down by temptation and sin and chaos.  But, here, right now. I feel loved.  In my safe place.  In my good gift from God.  Because, when I give myself a few minutes in the afternoon to lay down and relax in my soft bed, I reemerge a woman ready to battle.  Ready to shed more hope, more light, more compassion. I can continue to kiss boo boo's and pray for weary friends.  I energize the side of me that needs to cook dinner, help with homework, encourage an exhausted husband, and prepare my family for what lies to head tomorrow.
I just simply need my afternoon nap.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The season of simplicity

Oh, growing up is just so very hard to do.  Especially, when I'm technically supposed to be all grown up.
I find that my life, just like everyone else's, seems to have seasons, just like nature.  Right now, my season is simplicity.
I'm focusing on just a few things, and making sure I'm doing them well.  I'm working on being a wife, mom, daughter, friend, and babysitter.  I'm devoting myself to finishing out my MOPS career strong, and still building friendships with the new moms who come in, even though their duration may be brief.  And, I'm really, carefully, thoughtfully committing myself to be more intentional with relationships and self care.
To accomplish this, I have discovered, I have to cut back on commitments.  How can I enjoy one thing, if I'm worried about being late for the next thing? Or If I feel like socializing just keeps me from accomplishing tasks?  The fact of the matter is, I couldn't.  So, right after Thanksgiving, I began to change some things in my life, and I just have to share with you, they are working!
My to do list has always been a very important part of my day, but now it's even more vital.  It is carefully thought out and helps me stay on task, instead of sending me running around all day long.  And I always make sure  I write things to make me more present on my to do list everyday.  "Call ______, just to check in."  "Eat breakfast, and enjoy it."  "Read stories with the kids."  "Write a letter to ______ just to let her know that you are on her mind."  Being intentional takes discipline.  And, right now, I still need the validation on my to do list that doing all these little things matters.
I have cut a lot out of my life lately.  Commitments all across the board, so that when I say yes to something, I can give it my all, and not just what is left over from the other seventeen things I'm already wrapped up in.  Saying goodbye to so many things has been difficult.  Everything I have been involved in, I consider worthwhile.  And, not seeing my friends as often has been challenging, however, living this way is really teaching me how good life can be.
How my house doesn't have to be teetering on the brink of disaster.  How a book can feel so amazingly good in my hands.  How Monopoly or Parcheesi with my family can be the highlight of my day.  And, how I can actually have time to have a long conversation on the phone with a friend or aunt or whoever without feeling guilty about ignoring everything I "should have" been doing during that time.
I was able to go to my Gramma's the other day and spend precious time with her while she was teaching me to run the sewing machine.  And, I have been able to practice sight words with Lydia.  And actually pay attention to Micah while he shows me the hundreds of comics he draws throughout the week.  And, sometimes, if the cards fall just right, I even get to sit down next to my husband, look him in the eyes, hold his hand and smile at him.  Seriously, it's amazing.
I struggle with not wanting to punish myself for the years that I have over-scheduled and over-commited myself.  But, like I said before, life is a season.  And, it just took me several seasons to get it.  It feels good to embrace simplicity.  To enjoy people.  And not to live under the tyranny of the urgent.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Opening the door

"No home is too small that one more can not be invited.  Cozy is the new grand."  ~Jen Schmidt.

I have no idea who Jen Schmidt is, but I'm pretty sure we could be really good friends with a statement like that.

Today, I had the honor of having a couple of friends over for a playdate.  We made pancakes, taught small children about measuring and ingredients, and then turned our pancakes into polar bears thanks to powdered sugar, bananas and chocolate chips.  The kids love the activity and the yummy breakfast.

But, me?  Well, I just loved the fact that the house was crazy, chaotic, full of noise and mess and fun.  I felt honored that my friends would choose to spend their morning with me.  

I love nothing more than to have friends and family in my home.  I love cooking for them, caring for them, chatting with them, praying with and for them, and just being WITH other people.

I think sometimes we are really scared to let other people in.  I've learned to let go of that fear and bravely open my door, no matter how messy my house is, no matter how unkempt I am, or how weird my life is at that moment.  

I guess, I just wanted to encourage you to do the same.  Because, today, after the playdate I hosted, I received an invitation to visit with another friend at her home next week.  And, I have to tell you, it feels awesome to receive that invitation!  It makes me feel loved and important to be invited to someone else's home.

Hospitality is an important skill and a wonderful gift.  Maybe hosting doesn't come natural to you...I encourage you to try it anyways!  It's a great way to reach out to people.  Or perhaps you are a natural hostess, but you've been so caught up in the winter blues that you forgot to reach out!  I encourage you fight the doldrums by brightening up someone else's day!!!  Be bold!  Open your heart!  Open your doors!  And make someone else feel loved today!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quick Thoughts to Get Started

Okay, I know I've been silent, for a LOOOONG time.  Please forgive me?  I can make a million excuses like my computer broke, my kids got sick, I got sick, the holidays happened, I have too much laundry, I was writing a book...but I wouldn't want to bore you with them.  I would rather just humbly ask for your forgiveness and move on.   Especially since embarrassment of my lack of blogging has kept me from writing and then I don't blog and my humiliation grows and well, the cycle could continue forever.  Unless I start writing at this moment.  Which I am.  So, okay.  Yeah, thanks for forgiving me.

Anyways, 2014 was perhaps one of the most stellar years of my adult life.  I published a book, I started my own little mini home daycare, my husband and I have paid off substantial debt, lots of relationships have been deepened, I believe I may have finally found a niche to serve in my church, and our family has been very happy and healthy.  It's a little scary leaving a year like 2014.  Is it possible to have two stellar years in a row?

I am not sure.  But, I do know that 2015 has had some great things about it already.  For instance, I have found perhaps the most perfect cleaning chart for my life.  Twelve days into 2015 and my house is still visitor ready.  It's not spotless, and my house is still well lived in, but I'm making so much progress every day that even I can't believe it.

I'm making a point to study the Bible with my family more.  My husband, who has infinitely less brain clutter (meaning that he is better at organizing his thoughts...not that he has less thoughts..) than I do, is working on memorizing CHAPTERS of the Bible.  Me, I'm working on one verse at a time, that I literally have temporary tattooed on my hand.  We've been studying a devotional with our children about being average people living super lives for Jesus.  We are growing.  Alas, we have not yet "arrived," but we are growing.

But, 2015 is also proving to be a challenging year as it begins.  I am struggling this year  as my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) ministry season comes to a close.  I can't imagine a life where I'm not serving in MOPS.  For years, this has been my season, my calling, my thing...and now, because both my kids and I are growing up, it's time for me to find a new thing.  My friends and family promise me that something is waiting for me around the corner, but I worry sometimes.  I mean, I know that I'm young, but I'm afraid of being considered washed up or overlooked or unused. Even as I type those words, I know they are untrue, but oh, friends, what a struggle to go from knowing exactly where you belong to no longer having a clue.  I'm saying goodbye to this ministry with a few other friends, and I'm not going to lie...I'm so jealous that they at least have an inkling as to what God may have in store for them.  Not me.  I'm just sitting here, usually with tears in my eyes, trying to focus on the here and now, and the jobs that still are my responsibility, while trying not to think about the fact that soon, all my responsibilities will belong to someone else. And, I have no idea what my place in the world will be.

Even my writing has been a struggle.  But, today, I prayed for a friend, and she prayed for me.  We both agreed that we needed a creative spark, a desire to create, to make, a muse.  I think God provided that for me today, just in the fact that I've been able to sit down for eighteen solid, uninterrupted minutes today!

I'm not making any promises about blogging this year.  I know what I DESIRE to do, how often I would LOVE to write, but sometimes life goes in different ways.  For now, I just want to enjoy this moment.  The fact that words are falling off my fingertips, that the snow is still coming down outside, that this is my first post of 2015, and that I hope it's one of many.