life is about people and experiences not what we have or how much we can accumulate

Every summer Jason and I choose books for our kids to read. These books are HAVE TO’s. They can read other things as well but by summer’s end the books we choose are checked off as read and they always come with a form of payment to each child. (We believe school is their job and everyone should be paid for a job well done)

I am not nor was I ever a big reader. I only read books because I had to for school; most of the time I skimmed the chapters, highlighted the cliff notes and got the summary from my older sister who read everything. I don’t enjoy reading like most do… it is not an activity I choose with excitement. I would rather grab a magazine and flip through the pages. My eyes get tired very quickly, I am a slow reader and I usually require a nap afterwards because I cannot keep my eyes open due to the extreme tiredness. But in order to hopefully get my children excited about reading, learn to love  it and not dread it I read a book during our family reading time. Lead by example, right?!

ETR BookWell this summer I am reading Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.

A blog post my brother posted on Facebook about it got me intrigued. Two years ago I read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker and LOVED it. It made me laugh, cry and write pages and pages of thoughts. In fact, I plan to read it again. You should read it as well and grab a copy of Everything That Remains while you are at it.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

“7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.”

Everything That Remains

“What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want? Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn’t anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism…and everything started to change.”

Minimalism is intriguing to me… Could I do it? How hard is it to start? I like my stuff but do I REALLY NEED this stuff?

Since Mercie was born I have done a fairly good job in minimizing our activities. For 3 years our kids were not in any activities. If it did not happen at school or church they did not do it. That was freeing! The busy afternoons to the nights of rushing around, grabbing quick dinners or cramming something down our pie holes so fast we cannot talk about our day was getting old, tiresome and I did not miss those nights when we cancelled all activities. In fact, it was hard signing the kids up for something or starting school sports. I did not want to be in the rush of life again. I enjoyed slow evenings at home, family dinners, not having a plan and doing things because we had the time and did not have commitments.

I still don’t’ like having days that are planned, I mean there is a plan but it is nothing that is a have to for the most part. I found things popped up that we can do when there is no hard set plan that are more meaningful that sports, dance, clubs or events.

The kids have activities now but only 1 per child and each do not require more than 1 day a week. Most are school activities so the family doesn’t feel a burden of rushing here and there and everywhere….

But when it comes to our stuff and storage I often look around and wonder if I can do the same….rid our life of some of the burdens stuff can bring. Burdens of cleaning, storing, worrying about, etc…etc…etc…I know there is a lot I can be free of but there is also a lot that will stay with me… for many reasons. I am sentimental about some things and I want tangible things to be passed down on our family as reminders, memories of a life once lived. I love memory books and slowly flipping through pages of pictures and memorabilia of things we once did, enjoyed and seeing my kids as they were each passing year. In fact, our hall bathroom is brimming with our life’s travels and experiences. It is one of my favorite rooms.

However, I am well aware of my hoarding so to speak of things I like. Dishes being one example; I love variety and making every special dinner or party different and dishes and serving pieces can be a quick change and be festive. I have enough dishes to host a good-sized wedding reception. But then there are other things I hold onto as if I am trying to hold onto a piece of the past as if the memory will disappear if I get rid of that item. Yet, clutter, mess and disorganization drive me crazy. I limit how often I go into my kid’s room that can cause me to become very anxious and may hyperventilate due to the stuff everywhere look they have going on. I do have areas where, if you saw, you would not think I am an organized person. Usually those places are areas that I need to overhaul in how I store or organize the contents. All of which require a block of uninterrupted time and when school is in session I don’t always have that so I wait till summer. The kids sleep in and there is less running around. Plus, if they don’t see mom purging, cleaning, and organizing then how will they learn.

As Joshua states in the book minimalism looks different for everyone and we all have different degrees and reasons for why we own what we do and how much….So maybe this summer I work on purging more than my normal amount; because life is about people and experiences not what we have or how much we can accumulate. Let’s stop trying to impress the Joneses… who are they anyway?!


Why yes, things happen at the speed of light!

Since September I Have volunteered and worked in Joshua’s 2nd grade class for 2 hours a week. It has been fun and very insightful, however, those precious 7 and 8 year olds like to tell you how it is in very blunt terms. Which is fine, I tend to lack compassion and tact at times as well. But, after several kids asked me several times if I had lost a tooth (when I hadn’t) I started to get a bit self-conscious.

But first a little back story.

I am a clincher. I break and chew through custom-made, acrylic mouth guards on a regular basis. I have TMJ issues daily. I also have a jaw of an 80-year-old person and will need jaw joint replacements in the future. Oh joy!

IMG_9681 (2)Over time my top teeth have shifted forward and one tooth has moved somewhat behind one of my front teeth. In some pictures of me when the angle and my lip placement are just right it does appear I have lost a tooth and have a black hole. In the picture to the left you can see how one tooth is behind the other. It has not always been this way. 10 years ago it wasn’t. (Man, my face was a bit chubby 2 years ago)

Due to all of the issues I have listed above I cannot do Invisalign. In fact there was concern we have to move my jaw, do steroid injections and jaw therapy…. So I started the discussions with dentist and orthodontist and my oral surgeon was involved as to what we do…. it has been 2 weeks and everyone finally has a plan. Although the plan went from much further evals, more conferences between oral surgeon and orthodontist as of yesterday but today I got top braces.

WOW! My head is still spinning.

It had to happen so fast due to some benefits and expiration and needing to get the treatment started ASAP. I will still need surgery down the road but fixing my bite, aligning my midline will improve my daily jaw pain and issues from it, all of which I want more than straight teeth even though a bit of vanity sent me in to see what we could do about straightening my teeth.

I am not all to thrilled about braces… I am sure Taylor is gonna love it when she gets home and sees me…there may be a bit of enjoyment on her part because I have told her when she complains about discomfort from her braces that her perfect teeth and improved smile is so worth it and to be thankful we can provide her with proper care. I am sure I am in for it… but of course I will smile at here and enjoy my ice cream for dinner tonight while she eats a proper, well-balanced meal. :)

And here’s my metal mouth, well at least half of it. We are going to add the bottom braces later.




Easter 2014

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Egg decorating, Egg hunts, Bunny cakes, coordinating outfits….we had a fun and relaxing Easter weekend!


Football Family

Joshua FB 1 (2)

It’s no secret we all love football and we have a fun during NFL season with our split family. Dallas v. Denver. But now we get to be involved in football, flag football that is. Joshua started the season yesterday and LOVED it.

He and J have been practicing on his throwing and catching since the fall and he plays football with his friends most days during recess. One of his best buds has even said he has a great arm.

It was so much fun to watch the first practice and scrimmage yesterday. Joshua had a blast and some great plays! Looking forward to next weeks game.

Joshua FB 1 (1)


Fighting the Demons

perfectionism-is-self-abuseThis quote is quite biting. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with perfectionism. If it is considered abuse it is ironic and terrible that I feel a sense of calm when things are in order…. how selfish and sick it is that I to find peace in something that is hurting me and those around me.

Yes, that all sounds harsh. If you think about it you may agree in its truth as well. The tough road is changing old ways, being OK with it, and moving forward no matter how many times you fall backwards….

Loving yourself is a hard thing. It’s a rollercoaster ride and most times I have no idea I am on the fast downhill part until it’s too late. It’s too late when my husband points out that I am being defensive in an everyday normal conversation. It’s too late when I have already avoided certain people, topics, activities. It’s too late when I am correcting my kids and not praising them for their amazing effort and tackling something differently than I would. It’s too late when I self loathe. It’s too late when I choose not to push forward, fight for being heard or seen. It’s too late when I give up and give in because I feel unworthy.

Now I wouldn’t say I hate myself or that I don’t even love myself I just don’t think I am what others say about me. Being confined by perfectionism is the curse in all of this. I am far better at dealing with perfectionism than years past but it is still the monster that resides under my bed and makes an appearance from time to time. Outwardly it is not as evident as it was once but internally is a whole different story. I feel awkward with most compliments from others, even including my husband. If I feel I have totally succeeded, left little to no room for improvement then I can happily and gratefully accept a compliment. BUT, if I feel it was not my best, needs work, don’t  see myself how the compliment giver sees me than I feel awkward because I don’t feel I deserve the praise.

I find it ironic that I am one of those compliment givers and find it odd when others say things like “it wasn’t that great” or “I don’t deserve this.” I know how others feel when I look to them and say the same yet I go back and forth on being O.K. with accepting compliments or not.

So this perfectionism thing has its good points and its bad points.

Goals: It creates goals for me and pushes me forward. I have a drive and determination unlike most which allows me to do what I set out to do.

Focus: The bad point of this is the focus that comes with it, I get blinded in my determination to the other parts of life and neglect other areas and people at times.

Expectations: I have a high standard for most things because I know it is attainable. I put a lot of expectations on myself, sometimes I put those on others because it is what is natural for me and I, at times assume it is natural for others. When I have not met my expectations I do not feel worthy of an “at a boy” or the like.

Taking charge: This is my down side to expectations. Because I feel something can be accomplished or completed in a particular manner I have a huge tendency to step in, take over, and not ask for help. I’d much rather not be pleased with myself if it fails than someone else. In a twisted view I see this as taking the load off others if I just knock it out when in fact most times I am robbing them of a blessing or making them feel less than.

Trying to keep the good points of how I see my perfectionism and throw out the bad is difficult. It is a moment by moment choice that requires thought and self assessment. I struggle with because I quickly get immersed in the task as I stated above and am not thinking of the rest of life.

This is also an exhausting battle. It is much easier to slip into the easy side of things when life is stressed, when I am tired or things are busy. I can easily focus on the physical need for the day, what HAS to be done today task and put aside everything emotional. That’s the easy part for me… what I slip into the old me who doesn’t have the energy to give to others routine. This doesn’t bode well for relationships. In fact it sends the relationship on a rollercoaster ride that is not enjoyable. All of which I am trying to overcome, to change my normal patterns. 

Lately I have been forcing myself to only do what the day requires. Do I NEED to do laundry today? Do I NEED to make a new batch of bread? Do I HAVE to go to the grocery? Do the decorations HAVE to be changed out today? If the answer is no I don’t do it unless I feel like it or the day allows. I am working to not have a long to do list each day that HAS to be knocked out before bed. This allows time for self, relationships and taking it easy. All of which do not create stress or anxiety and therefore my home, my marriage, my interaction with the kids is enriched, enjoyable and pleasant. Patience is longer, attention is sharper and we all feel loved.

Only if each day could seem as easy and relaxed as that; but honestly it is not and I do have days, it almost cyclical, that I get into the lets crank out today and tomorrows to do list regardless of the rest of life. It is almost like I can only handle things for so long before I dive in head first to perfect what I feel needs perfecting. I really can feel it most of the time, there is a physical urge to dive in but as I try to fight it but it grows stronger and before I know it I am 8 hours into a project without a thought as to the rest of the day or family. I am trying to navigate that feeling and urgency. Is it something I should succumb to and not fight to help ease the intensity? I am not sure yet. I am still learning and trying out things to reverse old and bad habits that are not fruitful to my relationships. If only I had a siren that went out off loudly with a blinking red light to warn me that I am on the verge of getting too immersed, focused on perfectionism and am about ready neglect to relationships.


MY Family

Lately I have been going through notebooks, folders and computer files and reading things I have written. I did not realize how much I actually write. I have been moved by quite a few of my notes, poems, letters and journal entries. I think it is easy to forget exactly how you feel in a moment. It is one reason I write about big things, emotional things so often…I can be transported back to that moment. All of it is a great reminder to how I am living this life, how I feel, what I think about the things that happen to me and my family and how I feel about them in those moments.

I may be posting some of those things on here from time to time. Today I am going to start with My Family

crazy famThe family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money,  mocking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

The husbandJ at Great Wall

He’s the lead strange one… He’s never where he should be but always there when you need him… He can be late, wrong, right, uninterested, and intensely focused. He can rarely read minds but continues to try none the less… Clearly he loves his family deeply… His wife… a lover, best friend, confidant, critic, and cheerleader… She knows him better than he knows him self… His kids… a wild and unruly bunch with so much energy, love, and mischief wrapped up in such small packages… the pillars of his life… he knows that without them everything he knows will crumble in on itself… He is himself thru each of them… love, life, and… family.

bThe wife 

She is the OCD one… Always has a schedule and breathes better when things are clean and organized. She knows what everyone else needs more than she knows her own needs. She loves to be creative and even more she loves to have family and friends fill her home. She will cook you a great meal and make sure you laugh or cry, whatever it is you need. You will leave feeling better and she will be sad to see you go but anticipates the next visit. She adores the hugs, kisses and naps she gets with her kids, she only wishes the naps together happened more often. Her husband is her opposite and they make it work seamlessly, well most of the time. He is a compliment to her. He helps her to see her worth and beauty. Her kids…she wants the best for them and she worries over their future…who they will be, how they will love, and her strongest desire for them is so to seek God, find Him and be a person after His heart. She prays that their happiness comes from loving and caring for others not for fame or fortune.

The First Born T bb 2014

So the oldest is confident. She knows who she is and what she wants. Her beauty is wonderful. She is sensitive and caring. She directs and reports on all the family’s events, both public and private. She takes after her mother. She is highly competitive and creative always looking for ways to turn an ordinary Tuesday into and extra-ordinary party. She loves her daddy and is always finding ways to remain close to him and show him love. She seeks his approval and seems uncomfortable with her mothers suggestions. She likes to be in charge. She will be a leader in a great way one day. She is so smart but the fear of messing up keeps her second guessing herself at times.

hannah 2014Next in line is the blonde.

She is extremely intelligent but easily distracted. She will blow you away with her creativity and problem solving. She loves big; always seeking for the cuddle, hug, kiss or touch. She doesn’t know how to love any less than to love more than she has got. She is quite determined. Her beauty… breathtaking… Her way of thinking about things has always been beyond her years. She is her own person, proud to be unique…she wears it as a badge of honor. Center of attention? Yes! She loves to makes jokes and be funny. When she likes something it becomes an obsession and she will be an expert on the subject before you know what hit you.

The boy…cub scout josh

He is all heart. He was born chivalrous. He is sensitive to you and wants nothing more than your love and approval. He is a care taker; he will be a great provider one day. He adores his sisters. He admires his father and wants to be like him. His mother is who he watches out for; when she is not alright he is concerned and is there to make her feel better. He is his little sisters best play mate and strongest protector.

Mercie 1-2014The baby girl…

She was a joy filled surprise. She loves to laugh. She loves the chase. Her hugs are the best! She is also determined and opinionated. She will not accept you quickly; you must earn her attention and love. She is more like her mama than the others. She is picky, knows how she wants things, just like her mama. She is the ultimate cuddler, can’t resist lying on her mama and she will fall asleep in an instant. She loves to swing; we can only wonder what the love of the wind in your hair and the flight will lead to.

card 2013


New Years Eve

Yes, I am 17 days late. Oh well.

We had a family New Years Eve party with games, firecrackers, questions about the past year, and smores. We all had fun. Everyone was a good sport, thank you daddy! The 3 younger boys did not make it to midnight, they lasted until 11 or so.

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Day by Day

July 2014
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