Tuesday, September 16, 2014


We have all felt it, havent we? 

That tensing in the chest, maybe tears in the eyes.  And everything just feels. . . tight. 

Driving in a new city, repeating instructions for the 100th time, messing up a stitch and having to pull it all out.

My son felt it today.  A math problem that didn't make sense.  Mom's explanation just upped the tension.  Tears came.

Curled up in a ball, he concentrated his energy on the best cure for frustration-  breathing.

A lesson to myself.

When it is all too much.

Too much noise.

Too much confusion.

Too much clutter.

Too much pain.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

It will get better.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

You will make it.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

You aren't alone.

Friday, September 12, 2014

pin the post on the book game

Melissa Wiley started it.  She challenged her readers to post about a book on their shelves that they randomly pick.

My selection criteria was limited to the two shelves that have the grown ups books, but not the counseling books.  I flipped a coin to decide which shelf and then threw the coin at the shelf.  The book it hit was:

Unfortunately, I havent read that book. :(   But two doors down is the one Thomas Merton book i have read, the one that got me to recommend him to my husband,  who is the Merton reader around here. 

I may be the only teenage girl in history to take Seven Story Mountain as a beach read on a high school spring break trip.  Yeah, I was that kind of girl.  

Its an autobiography of a life that spanned continents, religions and for someone who took a vocation of keeping to himself, he was very connected with many great thinkers of his time.  

Thomas Merton is truly a fascinating person.  Full of contradictions and a continuous arc of growth and discovery in his life.  We have visited the Abbey of Gethsemane several times.  A little oasis of quiet amidst the farms.  

Maybe not a beach read, but definitely thought provoking and inspiring.  Below is the famous prayer by Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude.  (Hey, I have read that one too!)

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Whining, No Comparing.

Tomorrow night I am having a group of moms over for brownies, fellowship and discussion centered on the topic of "How to teach kids that would rather make forts all day."  A topic I completely ripped off from Andrew Pudewa.  You can download the talk here. 

Since we are all moms and none of us have time to waste, I want the discussion to be a time of building up and leaving with some ideas and tools we may not have come with.  So I thought some ground rules might be necessary.  I came up with two essential ones, maybe there are more, but these are good start. 

No Whining.  We are not here to complain about our active, energetic kids.  Every child is a blessing, a gift.  God has given us these kids for a purpose and it is with deep gratitude that we consider how to teach them well.  We dont need to convince anyone that it is hard to be a parent of any kid.  Complaining can be a snowball, the more you do it, the more things you see to complain about.  Avalanches are destructive, our discussion is to be constructive.

No Comparing.  A wise man once said "Whenever you compare, it never comes out even.  Either you are better or you are worse."  God didn't give our kids to anyone else, just us.  We aren't living anyone else's lives, just ours.  There is no script for this adventure, we write it as we go.  So let us focus on humility, on seeing ourselves as God does.  We can glean from the wisdom and experience of others, but not hold them (or ourselves) up as measuring stick of success.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More and All Done

My baby girl can talk.  Well, she can sign some words, and that is a great step. :)

As I was wiping up the dropped bits of strawberry, peas and beans  (she drops food as she loses interest in it) my son said, "All Done is a really important thing to know how to say."

Yes, it is.

How many struggles in my life revolve around knowing when to say "enough" or "no, I can't" or "sorry, not today" ?  I get stretched beyond myself so easily and run out of time, energy and patience. How many burdens in our society such as credit card debt, obesity, stress, etc.  stem from the lack of saying "All Done"?

And More?  How many times do I hold back from reaching out to someone who is lonely because I am too consumed with myself?  Why won't I just sit and be still with God?  Why do I say "More" to the things that drain me instead of the life-giving things?

Today was our first day of starting the full school schedule and I was wiped out by lunch.  It is a time when we are all learning together how to say "More" and "All Done" and to discern when to use them. 

All done with blaming, judging, criticizing and stewing.

More love, grace, laughter, hugs and hope.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

working on my attitude

Recently I was put in a position I didn't really ask for.  It isn't a huge burden, but it does take some of my time and puts extra responsibilities on my shoulders.  How do I approach this?  How do I face this situation?

My natural inclination is to get frustrated with others that won't help.  To feel very righteous that I am working and serving others while the rest of the crowd just takes and takes.  I keep a little mental list of all who dont measure up to what I think they should be doing.

But. . .

What if?

What if I chose to be thankful for this way I can love God by loving others?  What if I prayed for each person I am around and looked for God's image in them?  What if my attitude was welcoming and warm?  What if making others know they are precious was my highest priority?

What if I took all that energy I usually spend on being negative and blessed others with no expectations? 

What if? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lessons from Farmer Boy

I have had the great pleasure of reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my young son.  My older son is usually working on something else, but the story is so good, he is often drawn in too.  Here are some things that have come to mind from this wonderful book.

We are producers. - God made us to make things.  We are co-creators.  The lie of advertising is that we are made to consume, but actually we are made to produce.  With the gift of good land and strong bodies, we can make our own food, clothes and furniture.  Let us not lose sight of this truth.

Work is good.- We have been made to think that work is the drudgery we get through to get to weekends or vacations.  And yes, we all need sabbath and rest in our lives, but the ability to work and provide for our families is a blessing.  Just ask someone who is disabled or unemployed.

Mothers as teachers.- Almanzo's mom is just pretty awesome.  She is a baker, a seamstress, a weaver, a canner, a hatmaker, and a shrewd bargainer with peddlers. She does it all, but she isnt a helicopter parent.  She is a teacher and we see the daughters have learned many of her skills (ice cream making!!) and are very competent.  For all the technology and growth of knowledge we have now, there is much we have lost.

Respect goes both ways-  Almanzo's father is respected, even feared (in a good way).  But the beautiful thing about the father- son relationship is how his father really respects Almanzo and teaches him to be a man by talking to him with respect.  He gives him life lessons, but he also puts him in positions of responsibility.  And Almanzo learns that he really is a strong, smart boy.

Boys have so much to offer-  In our society, Almanzo would probably get diagnosed with something and medicated. He itches to be outside and to be with the horses, be with the men working, be out and busy.  Contrary to current perceptions, this is a GOOD thing.  Boys have so much energy that can be used for productive, useful things.  They want to be helpful, they want to be a contributing part of the family.  Lets unplug them from meaningless video games and give them real tasks that take real strength and skill.

So much more I could say.  This book is a delight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

reality and grace

I have read blogs in the past that are like a Martha Stewart show.  Lovely photos, lovely words, lovely homes, lovely food. Pretty Pretty Pretty.  And there is a place for those blogs. 

But I had to stop reading them.

Part of me liked them, but part of me walked away feeling frustrated and sad.  I'm not proud of it, but I would definitely line up with the results of this study. 

BUT there are some blogs out there that have blessed me immeasurably.  There are women who have shone light on my path through their writings.  In years where I really struggled with motherhood, they inspired and encouraged me.  Their blogs were and are REAL.  They dont air all the dirty laundry of their families.  No one wants that.  But they share struggles selectively and their attempts to persevere.  Its not a whine fest either.  Lots of joy, lots of gratitude.

Those blogs are the ones I keep reading.

I want this blog to be real. Just 5 minutes of sharing, reflecting, and maybe sometimes venting.

In the spirit of honesty, I have to say that it was a hard morning today.  I added on some more subjects to our slow start of school.  I showed my oldest the checklist he would have this year. It was overwhelming and there were some tears.  Growing up means more responsibility and if we can all be honest here,  sometimes that aint fun.  (Hence the piles of laundry waiting to be folded here)

But we also learned about grace today.  Mama is here to talk with you about these responsibilities, to help you learn to shoulder them and walk by your side.  We will tackle the hard things together and not give up.  We live in reality and we live in grace.