Saturday, September 29, 2012

Not your normal “almost” 12 year old….

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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.”
I stood there baffled.
What do you say to that?
I mean really?
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.
We talked
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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

They don’t even know.


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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.


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.

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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.

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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.


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


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…









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….


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LemonSprout Love…….


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?????

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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…



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.

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“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.


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!!!!!


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

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You won’t be sorry!!!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Test….again.



It NEVER fails.


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…





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.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Milk Zombies and Land Mines.

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Sometimes……Parenting SUCKS.

I know that isn’t popular….

but sometimes….





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 …





Monday, September 3, 2012


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


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.


you know who else should enjoy life?

These children:

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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.


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.

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( 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)