Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What do you do when your life

does not line up with your ideals?
When your parenting
does not equal kids that do not squabble and scream and cry?
When you wonder
when it is all said and done, will they still like each other?

Well, for me, I find a quiet spot - any spot will do - mine is in our closet in our (parents) bedroom. I sit on a tiny chair that used to be the time out chair and I pull in for a minute. I put myself in a time out. I usually can only pray one prayer at that moment, "Please help us get through today and still like each other." Then I sit for a moment until I feel a bit calmer and I go out and one by one I pull them close. I love on them for a just a minute, I listen, I try to remember to pray quietly while they are telling me what is wrong and to bite my tongue to keep from trying to "fix it", and I just hug them close.

Then we do something that my husband started doing when our first one was barely walking. We would "shake it off" (do a silly dance) and start over. By the time they are done watching each other shake it off and then watch Mommy/Daddy shake it off, most if not all are dissolved into a puddle of giggles and ready to start over. We say a quick prayer and square our shoulders for a fresh start.

And then this morning?
This morning I go have my first cup of coffee after all of this has unfolded.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Five Minute Friday Gypsy Mama


Eyes flutter open and I squint against the sudden assault of such bright light. Blinking, I rise to see who is beckoning me. I overslept my quiet time. Again. As my feet reach for the floor and my legs finally get the message that I want them to move in that direction I stumble over to the door and see a little one in tears. I lean down and gather her close. I take a deep breath and as she recounts to me in her half-sleepy voice and realize that here, standing between my arms is a golden opportunity. An opportunity to make her morning better, to help her feel safe, to let her know how cherished and special she is, and to let her know that it was just a dream. When she is done telling me how awful that dream was we march down the hallway together and open the last closet door and dump those grumpy, bad dreams inside and close the door quickly. Daddy will throw them out when he gets home from work. Leaning down again I dry the tears still fresh on her cheeks and bask in the huge smile she gives me. All of a sudden she turns and skips down the hallway to join her sisters in getting ready for the day. I make my way back to the bedroom and sit for a moment on the side of the bed. I resolve to make the most of every opportunity that is set before me today to make each of my children feel cherished and safe and full of joy. I try not to open the door to the thoughts of all the opportunities that I have missed, standing up I walk away before those thoughts take root. I gather my clothes for the day and head to the bathroom, my own huge smile lingering now. I am SO very blessed to have this day, these children, these opportunities.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Schedule

Well this school year seems to be all but a blur when I gaze back upon it. On the one hand (with one of my children) we poured over the beginning of civilization and watched as life poured forth on each continent. On the other hand (with one of my other children) we studied the birth of America and were fascinated by all that took place before, during and after declaring our independence. The great voices that spoke from words jotted down hundreds of years ago captivated their attention and found its way into their play in the afternoons and evenings.
We struck out on a journey last fall to discover animals, habitats and how to find them on a world map and globe. Many afternoons were spent drilling math facts and grammar and reading great stories and scratching pencils across paper. Somehow all of that compiled together and I blinked and the school year is now over.

Summer has begun.

In looking for a summer schedule that will work for us, I came across this idea : summer schedule for kids. I thought it a great jumping off place for ideas on what to do this summer to make it special. One of my favorite blogs is Inpired To Action and a few weeks ago (?) she offered up her simple summer schedule. Kat (the blog author) always has AMAZING ideas, I highly recommend her blog. We have a list of things to do, water balloon fights in the backyard, sidewalk chalk, trips to the library...and a scrapbook page for each week of the summer to capture the memories made.

Ready or not summer, here we come!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I cannot remember where I saw this...

a mom linked to another mom that traced and cut out her children's handprints at the beginning of the year and wrote a verse on each print to pray over that child. I think that is awesome. I thought about how I could personalize it for our family and this is what I came up with: I am going to make one for each of mine on the eve of their birthdays. Then when the next year rolls around, before I laminate that handprint I am going to write down big, awesome things that happened to them that year on the back of the hand. Then when they graduate and go off in pursuit of their life adventure, I will give them the handprint book for each of them to keep.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Gypsy Mama Five Minute Friday Exercise (click here for her blog and an explanation)

This morning I awoke. Unable to go back to sleep, I hastily tip toe through each room to make sure all are still snuggled down and as I make my way to the kitchen I glance outside. The grey of dawn is receding and the brighter light of the day is crawling up the massive trunk of tree across the street from us. I make my coffee, grab a snack and open my computer.

The first two things I read bring me up hard and give me a good dose of perspective.

One is a blog post from Sally Clarkson's blog I Take Joy and then after reading her blog post I quickly searched for Ann Voskamp's post about a mother duck plucking her feathers to line her nest.


Sometimes being a Momma I lose sight of why I am doing what I am doing. It seems one day just spills into the next and the only thing that marks the time is what we have to get done and when. I am the type of person that needs a schedule because I tend to drift or flit - depending on how much energy I wake up with. Sometimes I slow plop like molasses on a cold morning, other times I dart and flit around like a fruit fly on steroids. So having a basic schedule grounds me. Drives our days forward with a destination in mind. However I have noticed that if I am not careful I forget to give my very best to my most loved. I will spend myself, my very best, on things that are inanimate. Like the toilet that was scrubbed or the boxes I moved, unpacked and sorted through. These two blog posts reminded me that sacrifice is the call of motherhood, not schedules or routines or a check list. And while absolutely getting those things cleaned and put away ultimately serve my family, does it serve their hearts the same way as when I stop and cuddle on the couch and read a chapter from Danny, the Champion of the World (Roald Dahl)?


Monday, May 14, 2012


You would think from all of the years I spent at ballet cattle call auditions I would be used to being rejected. Your too this or not enough of this...the list of reasons seemed endless of why I was never good enough. Each time after the tears abated I would gather the broken fragments of my dream that still burned bright within my heart, make a new plan, and set off again.

Not every attempt was fruitless and I eventually found my niche, but it was short lived and once married (about a year later) I found myself pregnant with my first child. Tucking those dreams of Odette/Odile and Sugar Plum Fairy away, I packed up my pointe shoes, my tights and leotards and I set off on a completely new adventure. This adventure called for elastic waist pants and tent tops :), this adventure proved to have far more meaning and far more fulfillment and challenge and hard work than it ever had been to don those pointe shoes and do endless bar exercises day after day. I would only briefly look back now and then and wonder what if this or what if that, but with fondness instead of regret.

As we added to our family and my children began to grow up I started to dream again. This time instead of leotard, tights and tutu's, running shoes and pens scratching across the paper began to toss around in my heart. Dreams of running faster, harder and for longer distances and writing more often with greater talent snagged my attention and has yet to let go. Along with being a better/kinder etc; wife, mommy, and homeschool parent, running and writing occupy the top of my goal list.

So when a rejection notice arrives (my 2nd this year), as it did today, I find myself wanting to cry and eat lots of chocolate (I can find almost ANY excuse to eat chocolate), and not try again. What if I am never enough? I am tempted to give up, stop writing, convince myself I am just not good enough...but what if? What if I don't give up and instead I scrape up the fragments of this dream, dust them off, and make a new plan? What if this no leads to a greater yes? Or what if this no is to strengthen my resolve - not crush it? What if it is to humble me so that I am more ready than I would be if I had a lot of yeses (is yeses a word?) along the way.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Identity...who am I?

Five Minute Friday from the Gypsy Mama...where we get to write for five minutes and not second guess ourselves :)


Who the heck am I?
My identity was knit together cell by cell. DNA strand by DNA strand. Who I am was shaped by Who made me and who He put into my life. My identity unfolded day by day. Sometimes helped along by joys, often scraped out through adversity, but always held in the comfort of His presence.

Who I am is a wife & momma that is deeply loved by her husband and children.
Who I am is someone who loves them so much that it is written over every inch of me, going deep, deep into my very fiber of being.
Who I am is a homeschool momma who is SO incredibly thankful for the freedom to homeschool, who thinks it is wonderful that there is a choice and realizes that homeschooling is not for everyone.
Who I am is a daughter, sister, & friend who sometimes mourns my mistakes, but who is conscious of my need to forgive and be forgiven.
Who I am is a thirty-five year old who is passionate about running & writing.
Who I am is an introverted, sometimes silly, always likes to have a book in my hand and a mug of coffee first thing in the morning woman.
Who I am is someone who loves my doggie, Anne of Green Gables and really, really likes Narnia and Pride & Prejudice.
Who I am is a dreamer who has had to mourn the death of many dreams and then who has had to let go of all of that and develop the discipline to see other dreams birthed and brought to fruition.
Who I am is spoken forth from Him and sustained simply because that is His will.
Who I am fleshed out by each choice I make - good or bad.
What a precious gift to be given by the Creator of the heavens and the earth.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bible in 90 Days

I read through the Bible in 90 days last summer. It was an amazing experience and one that I am excited to begin again. And if you are interested you can too. Biblegateway is starting June 1st, so choose the translation of your choice and bookmark their page. I am going to try to blog through the experience this time, we'll see how that actually pans out. If you want a print out of an actual schedule click HERE.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Real life

Five Minute Friday Gypsy Mama


Real life.

These days, the minutes and hours that seem to pour past at an alarming rate, these are the moments that will flesh out their childhood.

The laughter, the tears, the hopes and disappointments will add up to someday either make great stories to tell their children or a terrific therapy bill.

But, for now?

For now these are real, live opportunities to love and be loved.
To build them up, inspire them, reach and hold their hearts and to teach their minds.
To introduce them to great stories and lovely afternoons spent on a picnic blanket outside.

Real, live opportunities to give them a concrete example of grace and patience and kindness so that they have a visual, tangible store room to pull from.

Real, live opportunities to allow them to cry for just a bit and for me to just be silent and to listen as they detail their disappointment or hurt.
Even if this situation won't matter a hill of beans in a few years, for now this is their reality and the hurt is real to them.

As they hand your their hopes and dreams scooped out through words, a real live opportunity to handle them with the utmost care and respect because someday they just might be a nurse, a world class spy, or a mommy.
To give them a sense of importance undergirded with humility, to pass on favorites stories, and share laughs over silly antics from not that long ago.

And a real, live opportunity for them to see failure, repentance, and apology in action. My kids get to see me fail, own up to my mistakes, ask for forgiveness and dust myself back off to try again

Real life.