Celebrating her

my-favShe is an artist.

She has a huge heart.

She is a dog lover.

She feels your feels with you.

She is impatient. She is silly.

She has a beautiful soul.

She is determined.

She is affectionate.

She has been through some storms and rose above.

She is her father’s daughter and she is her own person so she doesn’t always like the comparison.



She turned 14 last week.

When she was 4 I wasn’t sure we would make it this far.

Her impatience and determined spirit were trying to say the least.

So we threw her a party.






But, if I am being honest we financed the party. She planned it, decided on the theme and how to decorate, made the invitations, and even decorated her own cake.

Her and her friends had a great time. It was fun to watch them karaoke and dance. All of them were so kind a polite. I know that can be a rarity for middle school kids.

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On being still

Abstract autumnal backgrounds with petzval lens bokeh

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalms 46:10 Be still and know that I am God… 

I would love to have “Be Still” tattooed on my wrist as a daily, or rather, moment by moment reminder to be still, to pause, to reflect, enjoy, be thankful in all things. This verse has been a sort of catalyst for Jason and I to change how we do life and make sure that what we choose to do and even spend money on has a purpose that is lasting and meaningful.

Over the last several years we have been working to simplify life. Create memories that are meaningful, focus on adventures and not materialism or overabundance of things.

Quite a while back we choose to streamline Christmas and give a focus to our gift giving. Our children only receive 3 gifts each from us and they represent the gifts given to Jesus by the Wise-men.

Gold – their most wanted item

Frankincense – something to represent worship

Myrrh – a gift for their body

We also give these gifts on Christmas Eve so they are separate from all the other gifts given by family and friends. We include Jesus birth story and the significance of what the 3 gifts represent and why they were given to Jesus.

As far as birthdays we gift adventures not things.

We have limited time with our children living at home and we want to make sure that when they leave home their heads and hearts are full of memories and their cars are not full of possessions that would be a burden and collect dust. The bonus is that when they become parents they most likely will give how we gave and encourage that generation to not be consumed with materialism.

This year for Thanksgiving Jason and I decided to forgo the huge, traditional meal that takes so much time to prepare where we over eat and eventually the leftovers get thrown out because there was too much food and it eventually got tiresome to keep eating over and over. As of late it just seems so glutinous.

So we are packing up all the camping gear, the dogs and exploring together for a few nights. Just the six of us, some books and games. It will be dark around 5 or 6 pm and our only light will be a campfire. There is something about a campfire that causes you to be still, relaxed, and free to let your mind wander, open up and share things and recall memories that bring laughter. I am sure bedtime could be earlier than normal (or later) but the extended quietness we will have in the evenings will be a well-deserved and longed for rest bit for all our minds and souls, even if the children don’t know they need that or even how much they truly want it. But as parents I feel not only are these forging of memories and time together one of our most important jobs but so is enforcing the rest from the sounds, clutter, light and busyness of the world.

Only one child is not excited about this idea. She like, her mom, loves certain traditions and planning of holidays but we learned it comes down to some of her favorite foods that we only seemed to really make at Thanksgiving. That is an easy fix…. I will just change-up another tradition slightly when we return from camping. I know she will be thankful and happy for the change.

I am even pondering how we can show our thankfulness and gratitude for our blessings by giving back in a way that will truly transform someone else’s life that needs it. I am so excited about this camping trip over any others ones we have taken thus far and I love how our learning to be still is changing how we are parenting and doing life together.




Struggling with the trusting…

fullsizerenderIf worrying isn’t trusting or shows a lack of faith I’m a hot mess. As a parent how do you not worry? How do you fully release it over to God ? Can I do both and it still be considered faithful and trusting?

Or is it the absolutely need we have  at times that every second of every day for days upon days upon days all we can say is I trust you Jesus? Is that what faith really looks like? A constant, repetitive sentence prayer when you have no other words to say and nothing to offer when praying seems hard?

It feels one-sided, the constant asking and not much to offer…the constant asking and the worrying doesn’t feel to be improving…times like these I easily judge how much I took for granted and expected when things ran smoother and the worry was lighter, if any at all.

I know He hears me and will work things for the good but as a recovering perfectionist the heartache and my own inadequacy of my relationship that feels more self-serving,  needy and far from saint worthy crowds my mind and leaves me feeling empty-handed, no offering to give and I am just begging for peace.

Our faith is forged in the fire right? Why is it so hard to fully release the amazing blessing God gave you back to Him fully and completely unloading your cross for Him to carry because His plan is perfect? He even asks for us to hand over our burdens but when the burden lands in our lap why the struggle….?


So I turned 40!

Schools back in session and I am playing catch up with my blog…..HA!

This year was the big 4-0! We celebrated in 1920’s style. Costumes and all. It was fabulous.

I went a little crazy and went all out…new dress… had my make-up and hair done professionally. We rented a big house on the lake and everyone dresses up! I did not want it to end. It was all so so perfect!!!!!

I have the best family and friends. They worked hard to make the décor, set up and were why it was so fabulous!!



Being okay doing nothing

bookI started reading Present over Perfect. It is a good book and one I need to keep handy. I am recovering perfectionist….it has made me very reflective about myself and how I have changed and am changing.

I use to always have to keep busy even if it was cleaning and re-cleaning back to back. Perfection was the enemy. Busy equaled tired and at the day ended in bed but without meaningful connections being made while awake. All I was doing made others think I could do and handle all things well. I just got good at hiding how well it was not going.

This was the first year when kids were gone during the summer I did nothing… I usually have a house project or a lists of places to go or a trip. But this year for the 2 different weeks when the kids were gone I did not do anything of significance or thrilling or needed besides the usual workout, eat, sleep and laundry as needed. I wasn’t bored and didn’t look for things to do, start or finish. It was quite needed without knowing I needed it. It was good practice as well. Not working full time and all kids being in school and mostly self sufficient I have lots of down time but I fill it with noise whether it’s volunteer, clean the clean, surf the depths of the Internet for no reason or cook and bake so much that I end up hating eating because it means I’ll have to cook again.

This year, this time I sat a lot. Maybe music was in the background sometimes it wasn’t. I read books. Which is odd but the more time that goes by the more I enjoy reading books that cause me to look at myself and reflect, get in tune with my own thoughts and feelings.

When I first decided to have do nothing days it was tough. I felt guilty, I got bored, but I’m learning  to rest in the ok of accomplishing nothing on some days. I’ve found it helps me balance what’s really necessary in our life… I began making decisions more on is it best for the life style that’s focused on less… Less stress, less stuff, less crazy….it has also given a great balance to the days life is going fast and furious.

Years ago I would have never thought I’d have days I did nothing.

At my core I like doing things and going places. I love being with people, helping , having fun and creating new things… I’m very social and don’t want to miss events. I just find more meaning in making sure the things I do are fruitful, meaningful, important to life’s goals and not the to do list and that what we do isn’t just because we want something to do…

I’ve always struggled with being worthy or good enough. Growing up and mean kids and struggles can make for a nasty self-image… My thinking was always ‘If I do this or that I’ll be accepted and find friends. I’ll look important and competent.’ But perfection created messes and fights and I began to see how selfish it really was…it only took 30 something years.

To be perfect was all about me and how I looked and nothing to do with those I loved. It just made them feel less than and the distance between us grew and grew. But I’m and extremist type person, all or nothing… I’d flip between do it all perfectly to doing nothing at all. I didn’t know how to live in the in between. It took so much work to not clean or say no or miss this event or that because I just needed to slow down and cut things out.

And then, like always, I feel, your kids or your health shock you into learning how to live in the in between perfect and idle.

For me, it was seeing distance in relationships, seeing my kids feel they are not worthy of me because they cannot do all I was trying to do. Then there were hardships for one child that cut me to the core and took all my energy to help her…that battle was over and I was struck with debilitating fatigue and spent about a year getting to the core of that. Luckily, my doctor and I have found the cause and we are repairing and supporting the issues. All of those things on top of the everyday life of being a parent, spouse, working part-time and anything else that came along really took its toll. At first it was more of a physical toll but as I slowed down I began to be confronted with the emotional and spiritual side of it.

At some point my soul became dried up. I was longing for something I couldn’t quite put into words. I need something deeper than what I had, a deeper connection with people, an intimacy in friendships that are authentic and vulnerable. A soft landing-place with friends that came naturally and easily.

I began to learn that my frustrations were a result of things not going my way, not being perfect or as expected. It was hard to take the step back, when frustrated or upset, and analyze why because almost always those feelings came from what I wanted and wasn’t getting. It doesn’t feel good to admit to yourself you are being so selfish.

I wanted quiet and kids were fighting.

I wanted sleep and Jason needed me.

I wanted be at home and kids had places they needed to go.

I wanted my friend but her family needed her.

I wanted and I wanted and there wasn’t much grace on my part. I’d get frustrated and mad. At times I could mask it and no one knew. But I was a wreck and I was pouty and questioned if I was good enough or worthy. I looked to the perfection and the busyness to hide and bury the things I didn’t or couldn’t deal with the  as well as the things I wanted to go away and forget. The thing is they don’t, you become busier because it always takes more and more work to try to keep them buried. I didn’t have my people, the intimate friends and the vulnerability with them. I was searching for that, still am. I’ve tried to make it happen because I wanted it so bad and sometimes it happened with the wrong people which left more of a mess, hurt and empty space.

I still have those I call my people outside of family relationships but most live so any miles away and we don’t get to connect the way I yearn for often. Those friendships that are physically close seem to only go so far, when there’s a moment or time for intimacy and vulnerability things get silent, life seems to be really busy and it’s only after the fact you find out someone was having a rough time and needed help. I’ll admit I’ve not gone deep with them at times… Being vulnerable is earned and fearful. It all takes time and seems like everyone else’s life is so busy….



40 sounds so odd….

love_your_lifeIn a month I will be 40.

That is the oddest sounding sentence I have ever uttered!

Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb

 I don’t feel 40. I am not sure what 40 should feel like, I never thought about what it would feel like. So far there are no signs of gray hair or wrinkles…I see many my age whose genes are different, the heaviness of their life visible. Some are grandparents already and having a blast with that. Some have kids younger than most of mine. A lot of my friends are older, heck Jason is…maybe he keeps me feeling young. I feel our kids do too; we all have a ton of fun together doing life.

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~Robert Browning

The thing is I don’t feel like I have aged since I was 20. Yes, I have had huge life events, amazing experiences, and learned hard lessons the hard way, learned from heartbreak, grown wiser and have let go of a lot of baggage I thought was important when I was younger. I am more comfortable in my own skin; I have more confidence and security in myself. I quit caring about a lot of things and started caring more about other things. Maybe it’s the letting go of baggage that keeps one feeling young. In years past I struggled to keep life looking perfect all the time…Clean house, great cooking, top-notch volunteer, best parent, perfect time manager…etc…etc… This only caused anxiety and suffering. It just took a few years to wake up to that.

Learning to say no and not be everybody’s everything was the best lesson, along with, stopping the comparison game and not caring what others thought about my life choices. It made me love me for me. Most importantly, it has been a great life experience to refer to in teaching my own kids to figure out who they are as a person not who they are by what they do or what others say about them… I’ve enjoyed parenting more. It’s been fun. Years ago I would have never thought that being transparent with my kids would be an amazing teaching aide. I’ve learned I don’t want them to see me as perfect but rather as brave because I did what I felt should be done and I handled all things with love and humor despite the outcome; that I tried things without care of how I would be looked at or how much I might fail. My kids are so much more confident and daring than I ever was at their age. So much excitement for their future just to hear about what they do and be along for the ride with some of the things they will do in life. I cannot wait!

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore

As each year passes I do more things I didn’t think I would do. Jason and I take on more adventures whether it is learning a new skill for fun, trying new foods or going to new places. It is all an adventure. They create memories and laughter. It provides a wealth of conversations we will have when they kids leave home and create their own life.

We sit very little. Luckily, we both love to explore and be active. Our kids are the same. Once summer began the questions started immediately “What adventure are we doing today? What new place we will see today?” They each will research and create their own list and I just love it. We are all always creating and planning and hoping….we may never have the time or money to do all that we imagine and hope but rest assured we will enjoy the planning and we will see if I feel older than 20 in another 40 years.

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes


This is my JOY

fam good life“What is one thing that brings you Joy? “

Once a month I host a dinner, If Dinner, is the name. Its purpose is to build community, deepen relationships around Christ centered conversations. Since I love to cook, throw parties and have a house full of people this is fun and easy for me. Our meals have varied, our attendance has been low and high, conversations have always been interesting and although we have questions to ask we have rarely gotten to all 4 or stayed on topic because the conversations, the learning from each other, the laughter has taken its own course and always ends up where we needed it to.

This past weekend was May’s If Dinner and the question “What is one thing that brings you Joy?” was asked. Although the list is long in answering this one thing that popped into mind and the reasons why it was joy filled kept flowing the answer is my kids. More specifically being friends with my kids. Now, we did not try to be friends with our kids, we have always and will continue to be parents first. We have been so much parent to our children we have been criticized about that from others. They say we are too strict, don’t let them have fun… Our children will even tell you that we have said multiple times things like… ‘I am not here to be your friend, I am here to parent you’ and ‘we can be friends when you are grown.’

kissing jasonBut as each year passes and experiences and memories are made I feel because Jason and I can parent well (meaning we are a great cohesive team whose end goal is how our children can function outside our home to stay safe, healthy, care for themselves, be kind and contribute positively to society) we have easily made friends with our kids.

I feel the parenting leads to trust and respect and boundaries. All things that make one feel safe and loved. I say I am friends with my kids because we laugh so much, we joke and they speak my language of song lyrics and movie lines. When I tell them I miss them and want them to hang out with me they say, “OK, sounds great.” I don’t get an attitude or sighing or argument.

When I substituted for a everyday for a month they told me they missed me. My older 2 wanted me home before they went to school. They seemed to miss our morning talks, even if it was just about the day’s schedule. They missed me not being so tired.

family mr rodgersI don’t know if it is coming or if we skipped it or if I will get double doses in the younger two but my older two have yet to show the “normal teenager angst” I am not even sure what that is… but I don’t have kids, like others I know, who back talk and complain and argue and huff and stomp away because they don’t get their way. We have all had our moments where we let emotions get the best of us and I have listened to my kids tell me they don’t like my decisions and feel I am unfair with great passion… but I don’t get the behavior from them that others I know carry on about. I like to think how J and I manage our homes atmosphere is why. If I’m honest, I won’t be too surprised if someday we get a nice dose of hormonal teenager attitude. But I have so much hope in how we navigate away from that bad behavior because when they ask if they can do something with a friend and the answer is no we are rarely questioned…when we explain we haven’t all been together lately, or I want to just be around them their response is positive, a simple ‘OK, I can catch up with them later.’

I have an almost 15-year-old and a 13-year-old who asks to do things with you, for you and as a family, well, that’s huge. It makes be excited about the bittersweet future we have in front of us… the future where they move out, get married have kids and come home again.

Just this weekend I sat at the kitchen counter sipping my coffee watching my oldest cook crepes while J filled each one to order, listening to them all joke and talk and plan. I soaked it in, laughing and making up stories about the future stories and shenanigans that would all be part of our life years from now.

love you so much

Day by Day

February 2017
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