Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nearing a “new year”…….

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; We've added years to life, not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; We've done larger things, but not better things; We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait; We have higher incomes, but lower morals; We have more food, but less appeasement; We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or just turn the page...
~Author Unknown~

Monday, December 3, 2012

Walking the Talk….

Grow.

Change.

Evolve.

That has been our “theme” lately.

When the kids were little they seemed to GROW before my eyes.  I never really SAW it happening….it just did. Miraculously.

Right

in

front

of

me.

Amazing.  Wonderful. Godly stuff.

But it was more like, “Wow…Zeeks pants are WAY too short.  He GREW a lot!!!”

But …you don’t NOTICE really the growth everyday.

Because it happens so slowly.

Like a granted wish….it just happens and THEN you SEE it.

I guess growing in any way is like that…..when you are in the middle of it- you don’t notice.

But- when you take a moment to really look….it is soooo evident.

Soooo “right in front of you”….

it is undeniable.

Sometimes we don’t even KNOW we are growing …till we have GROWN.

LOL.

A couple of weeks ago, Jay was a part of the “2012 St. Augustine Pirate Gathering” parade.

ONE of his “jobs” he has is being a pirate on The Black Raven Pirate Ship.  If a “job” consists of sword fighting, firing black powder cannons,  face painting, and telling some-what dirty jokes. LOL.

I am beyond GRATEFUL for this amazing  job for him.  It really let’s his personality SHINE.  So…it was a no-brainer when he said that the ship was going to be in the pirate parade. 

Then…..

he said they wanted the boys to be in the parade.

Crickets.

That is what we heard when he asked the boys.

I think Zeek said, “ Like…actually walk IN the parade? Not just GO?”

Hahahahaha.

Yes son….like “walk IN the parade” and wear a pirate costume.

GASP.

I thought Zeek was going to DIE.  Like just drop right there.

He was not excited…his 9 year old brother was.

Awesome. 

As we sat around the dinner table,  I did everything I could to CONVINCE my 12 year old son that it would be “cool” to walk down the MIDDLE of the town wearing a prate costume and throwing candy.

“No really….it will be fun!”

“You friend Doug is doing it.”

“Your Dad does a lot for YOU…”

“It is good to get out of your comfort zone.”

“Your DAD is doing it, and he is UBBER COOL.”

“There will be LOTS of pirates in town….no one will even blink an eye”

“Don’t worry….we will MAKE you a great costume!” (You can imagine his face on THAT one!)

Lets just say…

He

was

not

convinced.

And because I always want them to THINK that they are in SOMEWHAT control of decisions they make in their lives…

I said, “Ok…think about it.  But…you  should really do it.  It will be fun.  You have a few days to make the RIGHT decision. Which should be YES.”

He half-heartedly said OK….

A couple of days later I asked about his decision, he said “ I’m not really sure yet…I don’t know.”

My response, “Ok…I'm giving you a day to come to the decision to DO IT.  Because you ARE doing it.  But, Ill give you a day to “get there” on your own.”

He looked at me and said, “Alright….I’ll probably do it.”

Hahahaha.  Smart boy. LOL.

The day of the parade came and I talked to him about “getting out of your comfort zone and being “in” your life.” 

We talked about how in life you will come across situations where you will be uncomfortable.  You will be put in situation where you really would just rather WATCH from the sidelines.

But….

That is God pressing you.

That is him “pushing you” to be better, more ALIVE.

That is him inviting you to be more present and involved in your life.

pirate 015pirate 019pirate 020

And in the end….they had a GREAT time.

He loved every minute of it.

Needless to say….I felt like SUPERMOM.

He had conquered his fear and overcome his insecurities.

AMAZING.

Then…..

it happened….as it always does.

It was MY TURN.

This past Saturday the girls were going to be in the parade for The Dance Company.   They were OVER THE MOON.  They needed NO convincing.  It was awesome.  We were ready to go.   You see….I was going to be in the back.  Corralling kids.   I was there strictly for “behind the scenes” participation. 

I was PLANNING on walking behind all the girls to make sure we were all together.  I was PLANNING on getting lost in the sea of little girls “pony-ing” their way down the middle of the street. 

EASY PEASEY…right?

Yeah right.

Then I was the one who “got pressed”.

I got there and at the very last minute they needed someone to walk IN FRONT and carry the sign.

Like WAY IN THE FRONT…..of everyone.

With. the. sign. that. everyone. looks. at.

CRAP.

Freakin” schooled AGAIN.

I didn’t want to be uncomfortable. 

I didn’t want to be “out of my comfort zone”.

Again…CRAP.

That is what I get for being all..”Put yourself out there.  It is good to be “pressed” into doing something you are uncomfortable with.”

So…off  I went.

Carrying the sign and WALKING the talk that I so love to talk.

It was a great experience, it showed me that no matter how much we THINK we have grown….because of what we can SEE.

The real growing happens so slowly that we are shocked when our “proverbial old clothes” don’t fit.

We grow bit by bit.

Experience by experience.

Step by step

Even if those “steps” are taken right down the middle of the flippin’ town, carrying a huge sign, in front of 1000’s of people.

It also  taught me that no matter when or where God chooses to “press” us….

young

or

old.

If we choose to take those steps….

We will be rewarded.

If we choose to walk the talk…

we will be MORE alive.

And that will be evident in our lives….

even when we are standing still.

Live. Love. Laugh. Learn.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A tiny seed….

 

seed

Sometimes as my kids grow….

I grow willingly.

And then sometimes….I fight it with everything I have.

I struggle with growth as if I am allergic to it.

Lately…That is what has been happening.

THAT is why I haven’t wriiten NEARLY as much as I wish I would have.

I just couldn’t.

My family is changing and growing…..

and I am struggling with it.

Maybe it is just that I got comfortable with the. way. things. were.

I mean really…Jay and I met in 1998.

Zeek was born in 2000.

It’s almost 2013.

We have been in this whole “having babies” stage for a LONG time.

Now that Sheba is 7….I have come to terms with the fact that I will have no more babies.

Gasp…..My uterus just winced.   That thought actually hurts.

I used to think that I REALLY wanted more kids.

Like a few more….

But as my kids have grown and life has gotten more, lets say….complicated-, I have come to realize that I don’t really want more babies…I just don’t want this phase to be over.

I don’t want them to grow.

I mean…I do.

But….I don’t.

I am excited to see who they will be.  I am excited to see them develop and be all well rounded.

I just want them to stay right here and all mine.

I am struggling with them evolving.

Can they be well traveled and never leave?

No? Really?

CRAP.

I am starting to wrap my mind around the fact that

I

NEED

TO

FACE

THIS.

I need to face the TRUTH.

Wishing it wouldn't happen will not help.

The only thing I can do is TRY to grow with them.

This is happening…like it or not.

The way I figure it…..after this is all said and done-

Who knows WHO we will be?

Who knows WHERE all this growth and change will take us.

Who knows what kind of people we are growing.

And who knows what kind of people we are GROWING INTO.

Scary…but exciting at the same time.

I have to admit…..

Sometimes…when I let my mind RUN.

I  feel a tiny, miniscule, barely noticeable seed of excitement.

Maybe.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Progress….ish.

scale

A few weeks ago we were having a nice leisurely family evening.

We had a great dinner, and were just sitting down to watch a little TV.  All was going well…..

UNTIL….

Sheba  came into the living room.

She had a paper, a pen, and ….

THE SCALE.

Like- the scale out of my bathroom that actually has written on it in PERMANENT MARKER, “You are MORE than this number.”

Yeah…

That

Scale.

The one I WANT to not care about.

The one I TELL my daughters doesn’t matter.

THAT ONE.

UUUGGGHHHH.

What the hell?

“Mom…I’m making a CHART of what everyone weighs!”

Inside I cringed.

I think I actually threw up in my mouth.

But she was so happy and ready and smart and cute.

While the rest of the family WILLINGLING hopped on the scale…

I planned my “escape route”…

How would I avoid MY TURN?

One by one Sheba called them into the kitchen and they weighed themselves.

Then sheba wrote their names and their weight on her “chart”.

Awesome.

Kinda.

They were all so pleased and WILLING.

Jay actually said, “WOW!!!  184!!!  I have never weighed THAT much! SWEET!”

Really?

Gag.

Big deal…I weighed 185 when I went into the hospital with Zeek.

It

wasn’t

THAT

hard.

He acted like he wanted a medal.

I wanted to slap him.

LOL.

Not really…well, kinda.

Then it was my turn.

I tried to say that I didn’t want to participate..

I was cooking dinner.

I was cleaning.

I was busy.

I tried them ALL.

They weren’t buying it.

They wanted a number on the chart.

Uggghhhh.

Shashamane actually SAID, “Mom…You say that we are beautiful NO MATTER WHAT.  You say it shouldn’t matter what you weigh. GET. ON. THE. SCALE.”

Seriously? Some days I think…"It was so much easier when they didn’t SPEAK.”

So I faced my fears.

I got on the scale.

I did it.

Right after I sent them ALL in the other room to watch a “really funny TV show”….

I got on the scale..

Then I subtracted 20 pounds and wrote down “my weight” on the chart.

I mean really….

I love myself and all.

I want to set a great example.

I WANT to not care.

But I am REAL.

I am a work in progress.

And let’s be real…

I haven’t made THAT much progress.

LOL.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chocolate and it’s NOT SO SWEET side.

A couple of years ago I remember just starting to teach the kids about slavery in  the early days of American History.  We talked about the underground railroad and Harriet Tubman.  We talked about what it would be like to be an abolitionist.

At one point I remember saying, “ If I lived back then I would have been one OF THEM.” 

My thoughts were - If I lived back then….

I would have stood up.

I would have fought.

I would have used my voice.

I would have been a zealot.

I would NOT have stood by and WATCHED.

I couldn’t have stood by and KNOWN and done NOTHING.

I would have been moved to ACTION.

I would have been a rebel.

BIG SURPRISE…I know.

I kinda had an…..

“If only I had lived back then…” mentality.

I figured that slavery was a thing of the past.  Slavery was something that seemed far away and ancient.  Something that I only thought about as an “old world” problem.  A lesson in school to teach….not a real life current issue.

I could not have been more wrong.

Slavery is alive and well…all over the world.

Which to me seems like a global basic human rights issue…It seems like there is something terribly horrific about the fact that in 1st world countries we worry about our credit card debt and the newest trend…while, for the most part,  we ignore the fact that it is PROBABLY enslaved poverty-stricken people that MAKE most of our CRAP we feel we NEED to live.

Sick  .

And we are ALL part of the problem.

But…

We CAN also be part of the solution.

There ARE things we can do to HELP.

Little things…things that DO MATTER.

Things we HAVE CONTROL OVER….IMMEDIATELY.

Things like our MONEY and HOW we spend it.

In our home…one of the things I am starting to do lately is try and buy as many FAIR TRADE products as possible. 

“FAIR TRADE is a system that makes sure that poor farmers and workers in developing countries get a fair price for their goods/crops.  Enough so they can put food on the table at night, send their kids to school…”…Harriet Lamb in Chocolate: The Bitter Truth

Fair trade is also a system that keeps children OUT of slavery.  It is a system that MAKES SURE(or tries) to keep children from being sold into slavery because of UNFATHOMABLE POVERTY.

Fair Trade is something that we can participate in TODAY.

It is something we can DO and be a part of.

Because  …In the good ole’ USA- We all have MONEY.

Which means…we have POWER.

I mean…In this day and age I may not be able to GO TO AFRICA and personally save enslaved children with the MERCY PROJECT…But I CAN make sure that the stuff I buy doesn’t come from enslaved children.

One of those things is CHOCOLATE.

We all buy it…all of us.

In SOME way, shape, or form….we buy it.

And we buy a lot of it.

Especially NOW..around Halloween.

MILLIONS..if not BILLIONS of dollars are spent to buy candy that people hand out without a thought as to WHERE it came from.

Even in our house…we don’t celebrate Halloween, but don’t think I don’t get in on a good candy sale!!!  I DO!!!

We ALL buy it and eat it….

which means you either participate in the child slavery or you use your money to STAND against it.

Because ……

the connection between chocolate and child labor_thumb[1]

True….

Kristen at Rage Against the Mini-van writes: “A report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. Some of them have been taken from their families, or sold as servants. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don't own them. This includes Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the US division of Cadbury . . . who collectively represent pretty much every snack-size candy bar that will be available in stores this Halloween. “

SAD.

Who knew???? 

This has been happening for GENERATIONS.

Heart Breaking….

Why not use your money to MAKE SURE that this doesn’t happen?

Watch the video below and MAKE. A. DIFFERENCE.

Don’t be part of the commercial chocolate companies nasty little secret.

Buy Fair Trade.

Always.

Teach your kids what the fair trade symbol looks like.

Explain to them what it is.

You will be a modern day abolitionist.

slave 2

 

Watch this video and educate yourself…

you will be shocked.

Here are some other links you might enjoy:

My dear friend Heather..and her other options for halloween

Wanna know more about FAIR TRADE???

Educate yourself.  Empower Others.

You never know when…

you

could

be

them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Better Everyday….

crock

 

I remember years ago when they children were smaller and I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed.

Like Jay would come home from working 8 hours and I would want HIM to cook dinner….I know. Don’t judge.

I had 4 kids under 6 at one point.

I was actually losing my mind….a little at a time. True story.

No….I actually LOST MY MIND a few times.

And dinner????

Pa-lease……….can you say???

Last

thing

on

my

mind.

I just didn’t really do it.

I felt UNSURE of HOW and just not into it.

As I look back…that seems selfish.

But…I was in a funk.

For a few years.

Again…Don’t judge…Raising babies is HARD AS SHIT.

and raising 4???  That is certifiable.

But…I guess just like anything else…

life changes.

Circumstances change and things that weren’t important…

suddenly become important.

Things I didn’t THINK I could do in my life…

I am learning to figure out.

One foot in front of the other……

1 battle at a time.

Until one day….

I find myself standing over a homemade cheesecake with all the laundry done, and tomorrows meal in the crockpot.

Go Me.

I mean, raising kids is STILL hard as shit…

But, I think I might be getting the hang of it.

Maybe.

Check back tomorrow because…

you never know.

I mean…there are still 4 kids.

LOL.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those moments….

Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life's undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room, from which we go forth to more careful and guarded intercourse, leaving behind us much debris of cast-off and everyday clothing….Harriet Beecher Stowe

gate

Have you ever had a moment that takes your breathe away???

A moment that you find yourself….outside yourself, looking in?

A moment that is you are sooooo consumed with LOVE that you feel like you will actually explode?

Sometimes, as I go thru my day, it hits me….

this time

these people

this feeling

these moments

ALL of THIS….

is unimaginably beautiful and special.

This family that we have created is nothing less than miraculous.

We are tight-knit…like- “so tight knit we don’t even realize HOW tight we are” type of close.

Maybe- it is because we spend the MAJORITY of our time together.

It COULD BE  because I PUSH that vibe in the house.

MAYBE it  has something to do with homeschooling.

It MIGHT be because I have a hard time “letting go”.

MAYBE it’s because “our little tribe”  is  just a TAD bit different from most people around us…

OR

Maybe it is a little of ALL of those things.

It’s like a neatly knitted quilt of all our personalities.

We all FIT each other.

Don’t get me wrong….sometimes we fuss and fight- but it’s safe to say we don’t know what to do without each other.

The dynamic in this home is striking sometimes.

Yesterday,  Zeek went to the middle school basketball game with family to see his cousin Sebastian play.  He was really excited, as you can imagine for a 12 year old homeschooled boy.  He was R-E-A-D-Y….all day. 

So…when he got home, we we’re all ready to hear what he has to say about the game.

“Was it fun, Bud???”

“It was soooooooooooooo fun Mom” he said with a huge GAPING  smile.

Then I watched as all the other kids surrounded him as if he had been away at sea for months…they we’re asking a million questions.

What did you do?

Who was there?

What did they say?

LOL.

We all we’re.

We want to know how it was for him…out there.

Without us.

Separate from “the unit”.

We want to know all the details,

we want to know HOW.HE.DID….

OUT

THERE.

Some people may say we are too co-dependent,  too- involved,…

Some people say that they need independence..

I say…..

I will hover over these kids and milk this time in this life for EVERY flippin’ second I can get.

I will send them out into that crazy world…then pull them back in.  to discuss it….a bunch.

Because….

these are THOSE  moments that take my breath away.

THESE are the moments that fill my heart….

and make it almost explode.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Not your normal “almost” 12 year old….

disney 2 052

As we drove home there seemed to be a stillness that settled in the 3rd row seat of the van.
Zeek was sitting back there alone and his “vibe” just changed.
A dark cloud hung over him.  It seemed to linger and cloud his usual HAPPY self.
When we got home I asked and asked what was wrong…..
After tons of cohersing and convincing….
He hesitated and hesitated.
He tried and he tried to find the words that were scattered in his confused and foggy pre-teen mind.
Then he said something that I will never forget.
He said, “Mom, I just feel like THIS TIME in life is going by so FAST.  I don’t want it to.  Before we know it will be over.”
Seriously?????
I stood there baffled.
What do you say to that?
I mean really?
WHAT
DO
YOU
SAY
TO
THAT?
I was so shell shocked that my mind was frozen.
He was stealing my exact thoughts.  He KNOWS.
Somehow, in the last few months,  my sweet, innocent little boy has grown into a self-aware pre-teen that recognizes his own emotions.
And NOW…he Knows.
He understands that life is not FOREVER.
It is fleeting and not always exactly what you bargained for.
It is …at times…HARD AS SHIT.
And when you are a kid just figuring that out….it kind of sucks.
Sooooo…..
We talked
and
talked
and
talked some more.
I tried to explain to him that in this life, the devil will always try and steal your joy.
Every. single. time.
He will try and trick you into feeling like what you have  is not enough.
He will try and manipulate you into thinking that THIS LIFE is TOO HARD to handle.
I tried to tell him that THAT feeling…the one of sadness and sorrow, THAT is the one that lets you know that he is winning.
It is not always easy…
But- as children of God….we must fight that good fight.
Because life is a warzone and our minds are the battlefield.
Not always an easy concept for a 12 year old….
But –Then again... He  isn’t your normal 12 year old.
Pretty soon...he was back to his smiling self.
Devil-0
Mom-1

Sunday, September 23, 2012

They don’t even know.

 

disney 093

As parents we plan  things for our kids.

For the last few months we have been saving $20 a week to bring the kids to Disney/Orlando for 2 of their birthdays.

We usually have a big party and invite all our friends…but THIS YEAR…we decided that as the kids got older…

we want to absorb them.

we want to soak up the moment we have with them.

we want them to ourselves.

we have come to realize that we ARE each other.

Not like, “We ARE each other” in a weird new-age hippy sort of way.   But, “We are each other” in the way that as they get older and mature…they are unfolding.

Their personalities are saturated with the traits that we have nurtured.

So…when we make a trip together or take a “mini-vacation” it is a sort of team building exercise …of sorts.

It teaches us to work together.

It teaches US that we are a unit.

The total SUM of US is larger than the individual parts.

And the SUM is amazing.

But…sometimes it only becomes evident when we step outside of our normal.

THEN…

It becomes an exercise in LOVING each other, an exercise in appreciating WHO WE ARE.

It gives the kids an opportunity to nurture those relationships that as brothers and sisters can become STRAINED by  everyday  life.

We do it because we know that life is fleeting.  Time is limited and everything but memories FADE.

We do it because these memories are the ones that will embed themselves in their minds.

They will DEFINITELY remember the bubble beards they made with their brothers and sisters at the pool in Orlando.disney 099

Or… building a kick-ass Lego car with your brother and racing it against all the other kids at the Logo-store at Downtown Disney.

disney 071

They might never recall the days that they helped each other with chores, but they will definitely remember sharing a smoothie with ALL their brothers and sisters when it was 1000 degrees outside.disney 080

And sometimes even a brother and sister who have been arguing about everything….learn that in life they really do appreciate each other.

disney 062disney 088

disney 082

It’s funny to me that we do all these things so that they realize something they already knew…

They ARE each others best friends.

They are the ones that they can count on when EVERYONE ELSE fails them.

They ARE parts of each other.

And they don’t even know it.

Yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maybe another day….

We are in a space in this parenting game that is hard to write about at times.

It not like it was when they were babies or toddlers and I could tell every funny or embarrassing story about them.  I could say anything about them

Now….

we have a 7 year old,

an 8 year old,

a 9 year old tween,

and a 12 year old pre-teen.

Holy Flippin’ Smoke….

needless to say, sometimes I REALLY have to THINK about whether or not to write about the conversations we have.

I want this to be an honest place I can record our lives.  I want it to be a place that they can COME BACK TO later on in life and read about how funny they were and FEEL how in love with them I always was.…I want it to be authentic, but…

I

don’t

EVER

want

to

embarrass

them.

Ever.

But….I also feel like I have a few more years to “tell it like is” really is before they start reading my blog themselves.  So weird to think about.

So tonight…..I will pray about telling you the story about our 1st time explaining the “birds and the bees”.

Trust me….

it will be worth the wait….

LOL

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LemonSprout Love…….

yarn

Lemonsprout  is new branch of Lemon Tree Photography.

My friend Jamie Williams is a stay at home Mom with 3 kids.  She has recently picked up crocheting again after years of spending her time and talents on photography.  She started crocheting as a child in foster homes, but only made scarves and blankets. 

“I never tried a hat until recently and I'm now in love with the endless possibilities..” said Jamie.

She uses  many different yarns, including acrylic blends organic cotton and organic bamboo blends.

And did I mention FLIPPIN’ CUTE?????

SEPT 035

I mean seriously?????? 

How freakin’ cute is this Minnie Mouse hat I SPECIAL ORDERED for a baby gift???

I almost MELTED when I saw it….no seriously…

Almost

melted.

Freaking ADORABLE!!!!

She also makes handmade accessories such as headbands, blankets, hats, toys  and much more.


She does accept custom orders, depending on the pattern it only takes 2 to 3 days for a complete finished product.

WOW…. Perfect for the procrastinating mother of 4 like myself.

baby sprout

“Your imagination is the only thing holding you back when it comes to crocheting, and the yarn supply at the store.”  says Jamie.

She can ship anywhere, & can be found on Etsy , Facebook ,  and Pinterest.

apple

It is a GREAT idea for a baby shower or just winter hats for your kids(guilty!!!!). 

Run and check out all the adorable stuff she can create…and support a stay at home Mom.  Good Stuff!!!!!

sprout

I mean seriously….How could you not order THIS?????

SEPT 036

Really????

Run.

Now.

Order.

You won’t be sorry!!!!

zoe

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Test….again.

tincan

 

It NEVER fails.

Never.

You see, Shasha is a strong-willed child.

Strong-willed meaning…she can STAND STRONG with the best of them.  She has an amazing ability to NOT GIVE IN.  Ever.  She is like a wild horse that at times…

needs

to

be

broken.

She is hard headed and amazingly loving at the same time.  She just has a hard time changing her attitude mid-emotion.  She does not do well with things NOT GOING HER WAY.  It isn’t necessarily that she ALWAYS wants her way…its just that when she comes up against a hardship ….she can’t hang.

She will complain and grovel.  a lot.

She has a tendency to have a hard time learning her lessons.  So hard that sometimes I just want to shake her and say, “LOOK…learn your lessons the 1st time!!!  It will make life soooo much easier.”

As you can imagine…she USUALLY DOES NOT listen.

So it happens again and again….she gets the “short stick”.

Again and again….and again.

For instance…This summer we started a new chore system.  mainly because Shasha wanted to do it differently.(till then we used rotating chore charts).  She thought it would work better for her a “different way”.

So I started a NEW SYSTEM where I wrote all the chores on poker chips and put them in a tin can, and gave all the kids their own can.

I mean seriously….it couldn’t be MORE fair right?  They pick their OWN chores.  If they pick one they don’t like, they can’t complain to ME. Ha…brilliant, right? I figured at this point…it was out of my hands. I was really getting the hang of this parenting thing…LOL. NOT.

So…the 1st morning came and the kids picked their chores 1 at a time.  Everyone smiled…except Shasha.

She picked EVERY CHORE she was bent on avoiding:

feed chickens

feed guinea pigs

water for chickens

water for guinea pigs

feed dogs

Every chore she HATES.

Every chore she was avoiding.

Every single one.

Needless to say, she was not pleased with this new arrangement.

She was PISSED.  This had not worked the way she had intended.. at.all.

She looked at me waiting.  Waiting for me to jump in and save her.  Waiting for me to come to her rescue.

I looked at her and KNEW in that moment.

It was out of MY HANDS.  God was in control of this one.

I explained to her that the chores were not the issue. 

Her attitude was the issue.  The fact that she didn’t willing accept what was given to her without complaining was the problem.

It was THE TEST.

I told her that in life God will put you to many tests.   When he sees a problem inside us he is determined to fix it.  He is a master at his craft and he will saturate our lives with the direct problems we need to face.

Every time.

I was proven right when..for the next 3 days she pulled the SAME STINKIN’ CHORES.

Crazy cool.

He will put us to a test…UNTIL we pass.

AMAZING.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Milk Zombies and Land Mines.

land mines

Sometimes……Parenting SUCKS.

I know that isn’t popular….

but sometimes….

Parenting

just

plain

sucks.

It is difficult, and consuming…as it should be.

But lately…I feel a little like there has been a “game change”.

You see….when you start a family the PHYSICAL work is demanding.

You get no sleep, you walk around like a zombie milk factory that produces on demand….which is completely consuming(physically).

It is EXAUSTING!!!!!

Like…”throw yourself in front of a train” exhausting.

There are times when you feel like it will never end.

It feels ETERNAL.

But it isn’t.  It ends. Slowly.

Like “right under your nose”…it ends.  Time slips away and before you know it there are no more nursing pads, nipple cream, or dirty diapers.

It is GLORIOUS…for a second.

When I was busy having babies, I was tired, but I spent most of my time sitting and staring into the eyes of these little souls while I nursed them.

I listened to music, read books, and ROCKED…a lot.

And then…all of the sudden….they are different.

The work became…..more mental.

All the sudden…those babies, became people.

Like …real people.

With thoughts and concerns and emotions and issues.

And now…I find myself in a new unfamiliar place.

Adolescence and pre-teens ….is a strange place after years of “rocking”.

This  place  is littered with emotional  landmines…ready to go off at any minute.

It is a place that I am LEARNING to navigate.

I am also learning that diffusing a mine ahead of time is MUCH easier than cleaning up the mess from an “explosion”.

This is a fragile journey that is not for the “faint at heart”…we are in the heart of the “battle” and are standing our ground.

These children were given to me …IN CONFIDENCE.

I have no doubt that this was pre-ordained and planned.

I have no doubt that I am supposed to be right here…right now.

The problem is explaining to THEM that the lessons they are faced with are necessary, true experiences NEEDED to shape them into WHO THEY ARE MEANT TO BE.

This is HARD stuff.

Harder than whipping out a boob and changing a diaper …

THAT

IS

FOR

SURE.

Monday, September 3, 2012

LABOR day…EVERY DAY.

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old. All of these children are slaves.

–Mercy Project

modern-day-slavery

Today is Labor Day….

a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.

Sounds great right?

Time for some beach time with family, or maybe a BBQ?

Time to take a moment to RELAX?

We should.  We should enjoy our lives and all the blessings that come with them.

BUT………….

you know who else should enjoy life?

These children:

mercy project1mercyproject2

These children deserve to enjoy life too.

But they don’t…because they are barely treading water(literally) in a system that keeps them enslaved for sometimes almost their entire lives.

Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa. As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again. Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves. Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

I invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa. Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.

 

Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.

Want to DO SOMETHING?

Here is what you can do:

1.  Watch the video and SPREAD IT.

2. “like” Mercy Project on Facebook

3. Spend some time on Mercy Projects website HERE.

4. TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Give….of your money, your time, and/or your effort.

C’mon …I know that some of you always wanted to be an abolitionist…here is your chance.

mercy project

( If you want to be involved with OUR effort….we are planning an art sale soon…. Start thinking of what you/your kids would like to enter as an art piece.   Ill let everyone know SOON)

Friday, August 31, 2012

1/2 as strong….

half

We’ll….

After 10 days of “holding down the fort” when Jay was on tour- I have 1 thing to say:

THAT is entirely  too much work for 1 person.

4 kids

3 dogs

3 cats

5 guinea pigs

7 chickens

3 fish

and

a WHOLE homestead to take care of.

NO THANK YOU!!!

Give me my hard-working husband and best friend please.

Every time he goes away I start out telling myself the same things.

The exact same tape rolls in my head…every time.

“You can do this.  This is a test that you have come up against.  You can take care of it all.  You are strong.  This will make you a stronger woman.’

Then…about day 3, somewhere between cleaning out the chicken coop and taking out LOADS of trash- this is the tape that TAUNTS me:

“Screw this. I don’t need to freakin’ learn a lesson.  I DO appreciate my life.  I KNOW how good I have it.  Screw women’s lib.  I need my HUSBAND!!!!”

LOL.

And then for the remaining 7 days all I do is get more and more “down”.

In his absence I feel alone.

I know that isn’t a popular thing to say, but …

it

is

true.

I know I have my kids, and I LOVE them with every breathe of my being.

I love being with them…mostly.

But..let’s be real….there are 4 of them.

4

And 4 is a lot.  I don’t believe that God designed us to do the work it takes to raise 4 kids alone.

No way.

Never.

Besides the fact that it is too much work….

I am not myself without him.

I am part of him and he is part of me.

Life is different….less vibrant, when he is gone.

I know this before he is leaves…but it is soooo PRONOUNCED after he leaves.

Not a popular view in a world where being co-dependent is frowned upon.

I don’t care.  It scares me to the core every time.

I am not gonna lie.  It makes me love him more intensely, more whole heartedly…just MORE.

It makes me thankful that I am married to my best friend and soul mate.

The road to where we are today…was long.

But we are strong together and 1/2 as strong apart.

No getting around it.

1/2 as strong.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The other side of 10 days….

 

packing

It’s THAT time again….

the bags are packed,

the clothes are on the bed,

Daddy is headed out on tour for 10 days.

It’s not a lifetime, I know.

But…

10 days + 4 kids+ the end of summer+ homeschool planning = one crazy mom

I hear all the time, “I don’t know how you do it.. It has to be hard for you when he leaves!!!!.”

And the TRUTH is:

It is hard.

I hate it every time.

I get jealous because he gets to travel.

I get mad because I have to stay home and “deal with everything'”.

I get frustrated and pout.

I pick arguments and then apologize.

It isn’t pretty.

THAT is the TRUTH.

But you know what it ALSO the TRUTH:

I love that about him.

I love that he HAS TO GO.

I love that he has passion.

I love that he still dreams big…at almost 40.

I love that HIS way of making up for it is doing ALL.THE.LAUNDRY. before he goes.

I also love that he also PUTS.IT.ALL.UP. before he goes.

I love that for the 2 days before he leaves he lets me “go on strike” and lay in bed and watch BostonMed while he takes care of EVERYTHING.

I love that he makes sure we have everything we need.

I love him.

And every time they go I look at it like an opportunity…

FOR ME.

I have the opportunity to RISE and prove once again …to myself, that I am STRONG.

I can do it all.

I don’t want to.

But

I

can.

I can be strong and send him off with a kiss and a smile.

Because …

the TRUTH is.

It is part of what makes us strong.

It is part of what we are CALLED TO DO.

I know that God would not call me to something I wasn’t supposed to do.  I trust that there are things and lessons that I have to learn…without my husband.

I trust that on the other side of 10 days I will be strengthened and renewed….

just in time to RUN OUT THE DOOR when he gets back.

Because strong and SANE are 2 different things.

Let’s not get it twisted.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

If you want to see where I –Vibes is going…check Here.

Check these out…..Making these this week

If you have girls…..show them these- so cute for back to school.

Boys…Maybe THIS is more their style.

Also making a ton of THESE.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fun Finds……

 

If you have boys…you will LOVE these pics.

We have broken this book out again…Fall Garden – here we come.

Want to do something GREAT today??? PLAY this game.

Almost time for school 2012-2013….Here we come.

I am SOOOOOOO  using this for typing this year.

These might change your life.

If you have a daughter…learn to do some of  THESE and you will be BFF’s forever.

Calgon…take me HERE!!!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A deafening silence…….

 

It is no secret that I have been struggling lately.

I have to admit…I was pretty good at being the Mother of young kids.  I felt like I had myself in a pretty  good system.

Feed.

Change.

Bathe.

Play.

Repeat.

I had it down.

Easy Peasy.

Then…

it. happened.

They started to grow up.  They started to grown into who they ARE.

I feel like I have come upon this part of parenting relatively quickly…in slow motion.

I am unprepared and NOT READY.

Let’s just say that I am LESS THAN ENTHUSED about the prospect of these little chicks of mine someday “flying the coop”.

It has been a HARD TRANSITION for me lately.

I have figured out as I walk this road that I am utterly unprepared and prefer to live in denial.

This is not happening.

This is not happening.

This is not happening.

But it is.

I have proof.

My once talkative first born Zeek has been DEAFENINGLY SILENT these days.  A silence that is only LOUD to me.  So loud that I cant take it.  It makes me want to crawl into his mind and just sit for a while.  I want to see WHAT HE IS THINKING.

He is almost 12….”they” tell me it is “normal”.

What I am realizing about Zeek at THIS AGE is that he really is starting to grow into himself.  He is more like an adult. Weird. 

He gets annoyed at the same things that we do.  Like when Malachi and Sheba  someone is just making “unnecessary noise” and being annoying kids.

Or

He can just ride in the car and NOT TALK.  In a strange teenage silence.  He can just think and enjoy the ride.

All of which I find myself fighting.

I find myself unsure HOW TO DEAL.

I want him to have time to himself but I don’t want him to pull away.  It is a strange dance we do.  A push and pull.

I have done everything to try and MAKE him talk.

When he was mad one time, I MIGHT have crawled in his bed and refused to leave until he rolled over and talked to me.

I’m just saying…I MIGHT HAVE.

No biggie….Until Jay found me and all but tore me from the top bunk of Zeeks bed.  I THINK he said something about how this wasn’t “the way” to go about it, how this wasn’t going to work with a 11 year old boy…yada yada.  All I heard was silence.

It

was

deafening.

I wanted my talkative little boy back.   The one couldn’t help me mow the grass or get something from the top shelf for me.

I wanted him.

Sweet thing that would talk my ear off.

I was bound and determined to make it happen.

I would crack his code.

I would find his “IN”.

It was my mission.

Then it happened….

I saw my chance.

He was alone and silent…of course.

He was immersed in LEGOS.  He is kind of obsessed actually.

oh my 015

I found him like this….where we sat for about 45 min.

I asked him about what he was building.

He told me all about each piece and what it did and how to make what I was building “better”.

 

oh my 017

(That is my square building above)  LOL..

You can see that I was way more interested in the fact that he was talking….than what I was building.

He built and built and talked and talked.

I sat and listened.

And loved every single minute of it.

It is a true blessing to get to know him and his sweet, endearing soul.

 

oh my 019

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On redemption and nail polish.

nAILS 018

Who knew that painting nails could be such a CLEVER way for GOD to help  us grow?

Not me….

But this is the thing…

Shasha  is a bit obsessed.

Like 50 nail polishes, all the right fingernail file tools, the fingernail polish remover that you swish your finger in and Viola!!…polish removed!!!

She even lets me know DAYS ahead of time when she is going to run out of remover.

Her obsession has even earned a big part of her board on Pinterest!!

This is a 9 year old girl who grows out her nails so that she can TRY all the cool polish ideas she sees. LOL

All that is wonderful and creative and fun…..

But what has really struck me lately is that it has really turned into a lesson in…

REDEMPTION.

You see….ths child is not blessed with a particularly high self esteem.  We have spent many hours talking about how everyone is GREAT at..

their

own

thing.

We are all different and CAN NOT all be great at drawing or awesome at painting(which she is).  Sometimes we have ppy for our brother or sister because THEY have a talent…then move on.

We have to find something that helps us FEEL CONFIDENT and that we enjoy doing….and then practice at it.

Sometimes we just have to find our niche.

nAILS 015

A couple of weeks ago I found Shasha in the schoolroom on Pinterest.  She had found a tutorial on marbelized nails and had taught herself how to do it.

So cool.

Over the next couple of weeks I watched her paint and REPAINT her nails so many times that soon it hit me…

This is her thing…

that thing that can build confidence and also teach her about PERSISTENCE and NOT GIVING UP.

She would come in and say, “Mom!!! I messed them u again.  I can’t do it.   Ill never be able to do it right!”

Which is a perfect time to teach her about those things you can only learn thru experience.

Sometimes…Only thru trying something many times and failing…do you learn the right way to do something so that the end result is JUST.WHAT. YOU. WANTED.

Redemption…..in many colors.

nAILS 002nAILS 004nAILS 005nAILS 006nAILS 009nAILS 011nAILS 013nAILS 017

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The season of ME……

seasons

Last night at work I sat and listened to two of my friends talk about the yoga classes they liked the best,  what times the classes were and how GREAT they felt afterwards.

As I listened to them I envisioned a time in my life when I could GET TO my favorite classes with my favorite people.

I would love to do sun salutations each and every morning with them….instead I pop in every couple of months for a few days to say hello to my mat and sweaty friends. 

Mainly to remind myself that I still CAN do a zillion downward dogs and planks.

I would LOVE to make it to ballet every Monday and Thursday like I had intended….some of my favorite people are there.  Instead I run in every once in a while and try to act like I have a CLUE what I am doing. 

Which mainly means making fun of myself the entire time….while trying to grand pliĆ© 1000 times without my knees cracking.  LOL.

I used to fight it and make plans every week to …DO BETTER.

Then every time my LIFE got in the way ….I would beat myself up.

And as I listened to my friends last night I realized….

I am resigned to the fact that ONE DAY…I will come first.

Today is not that day.

Today I will come last on my list.

I am ok with that.

I

made

that

choice.

I made the decision to have a big family that requires ALL of my time at this point.

I wouldn’t change it. Ever.

I am knee deep in hormones and eye-rolls, tiny bras and stomping feet, painted nails and sibling rivalry.  I am struggling with mourning friendships and trying to keep my heart from hardening.

My life at THIS POINT requires my time and devotion.

I want to be present for every moment.

I think it is wonderful when a Mom can devote some time to herself everyday. I don’t know 1, by the way. But, I think it is a wonderful idea.

As for me…

I cant. I try. I fail.

Just being REAL.

I am hopelessly devoted to my family and know in my heart that THIS

IS

WHERE

I

AM

NEEDED

RIGHT

NOW.

All that said….I have confidence that the hat I wear today will change tomorrow.  As my children grow into themselves…my life will change. 

Until then….

As I referee arguments I will dream of the painting classes …I will take at the Art association in 20 years.

As I wash another load of dirty clothes… I will daydream of the yoga I will do every morning at sunrise.

As I teach the kids their spelling words and put band-aids on their cuts I will allow my mind to drift to a season in  my life in the future when my children are grown and I can take as many classes and read as many books as I please.

As I run the kids to THEIR ballet classes and football games…I will try and remember that in life there are seasons.

As for right now….I know where I am and I love it.

I figure my season will come….eventually.

It makes me  wonder who I will be…in the season of ME.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Little Big Life.

weekend off 036

Sometimes in life there are times when I don’t want to…

ANYTHING.

There are times when I just need to escape the four walls that are closing in on me and surrender to the bigger picture.

Those  days when thankfulness escapes me and joy is hard to find.

Those days.

The undeniably hard ones.

Those are the days that I am learning that feelings can drown me and life is BIG.

B.I.G.

Big.

Too big to wrap my mind around. 

Too many feelings and too much struggle….for me.

I am learning that there is ONE SURE CURE….

Nature.

Fresh Air.

Wind.

Salt.

Heat.

It is because “out there” I am forced to take my eyes off things that are merely 3 feet in front of me.

I am forced to take in LIFE thru nature that I can’t thru my 4 walls…

And sometimes…………

A bigger world picture is all we need.

Realizing that our problems are small, no matter how big….is HUGE.

It is only when I remember that I am a mere piece of the puzzle that life is put into perspective.

It is only when my WORLD VIEW is distorted that I find faults.

BUT…

When I remember that I am small in this BIG picture,

when I remember that I am blessed beyond words,

when I remember that I CAN choose to seep LOVE,

THAT is when my sense of perspective changes .

That is when I WANT to do…………..

EVERYTHING.

Because..

My life is a small speck of a blessing in a long line of lifetimes.

Small

and

Big

at

the

same

time.

A little, big life.

So…This weekend, that is what we did.

When we started feeling frustrated and overwhelmed…

We got out.

We explored.

We celebrated our “little, big life”.

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