Thursday, December 3, 2015

What does LOVE do?

Lately I have wanted to write.  But honestly, there are so many thoughts in my head that I have no idea where to start.  I am reading Bob Goff's book, "Love Does" and though it is inspiring, it is somewhat discouraging to me in a world that is full of death and violence and greed. I cannot write about politics because I am all over the map when it comes to how I feel and what I think. And if you aren't one sided, people claim that you are weak. Religion is out. If you love Jesus you're a hypocrite and if you don't you're a terrorist.  I am not really sure that one is worse than the other at this point in history. 

Our world is scary and our lives are full of unknowns.  Media lies to us all.  If you fall towards the right you are influenced by fear mongering propaganda, if you fall to the left it is the sympathy propaganda that influences your decisions.  Personally I am scared and sad at the same time, but again that is unacceptable to most. And then I read Bob's book and I am inspired. Not by Bob, well Bob is inspiring, but not JUST Bob.  I am inspired by my friends who just fostered a 5 week old little boy and those who give their time to food shelters this time of year.  I am inspired by the single moms and by the dads that are working two jobs. I am inspired by the families that bag Santa Claus and give their Christmas money to a family who can't eat this week without it. I am inspired because Bob is right Love Does.  Love does a lot of things every single day.  And while many of us are sitting around angry about what is happening in the world, we are missing out on DOING anything.  This is not to minimize what is happening all over the world.  Because all of it matters and all of it is important.  But it is to say what are you, what am I really DOING about it besides worrying, arguing, or complaining about it.  Probably nothing. 

But you know what we could be doing? Fostering, feeding, clothing, cooking, giving, loving, helping, employing, our friend, our neighbor, our brother.  Friends, we are wasting precious time.  Time that we have been given as a gift.  Time that is short, shorter than we realize.  I think most of us will get to end of our lives, be it today or ten years from now and think "I wish I had DONE more". I know I will. I already think that about my previous 40 years.  (Especially those wasted at my favorite watering hole in my 20's). Because if I have learned anything over the past ten years it is that life isn't about ME or my happiness or what I want or what I think is best for me.  Life is about love and passion and grace and mercy and the love of a God that gifts all of that to us unquestioned. It is about the souls of those people who do not know Him yet. And we are supposed to live that.  To live everyday showing that, shining that, caring about that, focusing on that..  I don't.  It is true.  And most people I know don't. 

Most people I know live for today; for this ball game or that dinner party with little or no regard to those  around them that may or may not know the Truth.  Most of them assuming that they themselves are "in the clear" when Jesus arrives and that God intends then for them to enjoy the rest of the time here on earth.  I pretty much disagree with all of that, but that is just me.  I don't remember anything in the bible talking about enjoying life or my happiness.  Not that I am a scholar. But what I do remember is that we are supposed to be spreading the Good word in this "getting darker everyday" world. We are supposed to care for the orphans and the widows. We are supposed to feed the hungry.  We are supposed to love our enemies and pray for those against us.  That is not to say I think we aren't supposed to protect ourselves and our families at the same time.  So I have started praying for my enemies.  I wasn't, I am now, but I wasn't.  I am praying, literally for the souls of all of those out to destroy this wonderful, beautiful, world that we live in.  I am praying for the souls of all of them.  Begging, pleading with Jesus to save them (and us) from their lost souls.  Praying is doing.  I want to be doing something even when it feels like I am helpless.  Will you pray with me?

Because Love prays and feeds and clothes and helps and DOES.  I want to DO something.  Today. I want to show my kids that today is not wasted. That we can make a difference.  We can shine our light in this community and it will matter.  I want to show them what the power of prayer DOES. What faith DOES. What grace DOES. What LOVE DOES. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Balloons and Ice Cream

I forget.
I do it often now.  Forget, I mean.  It's easy in this life that has taught me that the busier I am the happier I will be. No wait, the busier I am the more successful I will be. No wait, hell I cannot remember.  Either way, it encourages me to be busy and I forget.  Forget their names, to fill the water bottles, to feed them lunch. You name it, I forget it.  I blame no one but myself. After all, my absurd expectations of what I should accomplish in a day, in a week, come from no one else.  And therefore, I forget.  All of the time. Everyday.  

What has happened to us as mothers? Where in the hell did we go wrong?  Why is it that we have accepted the idea that the busier we are, the more activities they are in, the more things we volunteer for, are the things that will make them remember us.  You know what will make them remember us? Balloons.  Balloons and ice cream.  Yep.  You and I could spend ten minutes today and grab some balloons and a gallon of ice cream and they will remember it for the rest of their lives, guarantee it.  

You know what I remember about my mom?  An ice cream cake. It was a disaster,  But I remember her making it, and I remember her loving me enough to start over again and again until it was as close to right as it was ever going to get.  I remember spontaneous trips to the beach.  I remember her turning the eyes off on the stove and putting us in the car for Happy Meals (gross, I know but she didn't know any better and those boxes were really cool).  I do not remember a clean house, or meals that she made for every family at the church that needed one. I am not knocking taking meals, mind you, I am just stating fact.  

Busyness is a epidemic.  We are so busy when we have our kids with us, we cannot wait to get away from them!!  Now, a few of you are reading this and SWEAR that you NEVER want to be away from your kids.  Good for you, I am talking about the other 99% of the moms out there.  I am tired.  And I am going to be honest with you here, don't tell your friends this, but I do not do half of the things with my kids that most of you do.  We are not eaten up with activities and I do make mine entertain themselves.  I say no, often.  I do not take them everywhere,  I do not sign them up for every fun thing at the library and we skip birthday parties. Truth.  Still I am tired.  So the rest of you must be EXHAUSTED. 

You know what happens when you are tired and spent? You forget.  You forget that he really likes his sandwiches cut into triangles .     You forget that one sharp tone affects her for the rest of the day. You forget that his behavior is better when you aren't in a hurry.  You forget that she is 7.  Just 7.  JUST 7!!!!!!!   Sorry that was for me.  Even though you too may have a 7 year old that you treat as though he/she is 16.  If so, this one is for you........7!!!!!!!!!!

I want to be different. I want to be patient and fun and crazy and messy.  I want to play in the mud and build a fort and I want those freaking dishes to rot in the sink.  I want them to remember.  Remember that we went for ice cream after bed time. Remember that we bagged homework for a dance party.  Remember that I didn't give two shits what they were good at as long as they loved and lived and laughed and Jesus shone through their blue eyes.  And I want to remember too. Remember that she doesn't care if that skirt goes with that shirt and let her wear it.  Remember that she loves crafts and s'mores and that it is not her fault that I am late.  It is mine.  I want to remember that her eyes only sparkle when things are silly and her daddy is home.  And that for the love of God she is only 7!!!! 

I want to remember 7 and 6 and 2 1/2 even though it is hard and messy and louder than I would like on the days that I am spent.  I pray for that. I pray for friends that want to remember too.  I pray for friends that don't want to  compare notes or kids but would rather just sit and watch and enjoy what we have.  I miss friends like that and I am grateful for the few that I have.  I pray that you too will remember this year.  You will not hurry it by with homework and projects and 3 sports and church activities but instead, every now and then, you will just stop for balloons and ice cream.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Bennett

Dear Bennett,

Well March came and is almost gone and again, I survived it.  This year was particularly difficult in the days leading up to your birthday. I felt myself on the verge of tears often and crying more than usual.  I miss you.  I miss your face and your blue eyes and that set of dimples I am certain you have.  I miss the sounds that you would make, adding to the chaos that is our home. I miss the BOY you would bring to our day.  I catch myself looking at these girls and seeing you within their circles, playing their games, fighting with them.  Oh my how I bet you and Presley would fight.  It makes me laugh thinking of it. 

Our lives are easy right now.  Happy and only the normal chaos of the average family fills our days. School, work, play, everyday challenges.  Your sisters are healthy and they speak of you often, weekly as a matter of fact.  They know you are missing.  On your birthday Presley cried.  She knows you are happy in heaven but she wishes we could just all go and be with you. 

I want to thank you for the kind of mama you make me.  And for the gift that I am sure you had everything to do with that we call Josie Hope.  She has filled our home in ways we never knew were empty.  I am sure you have much to do with the fact that Jesus let us keep her. Thank you son. 

You are 5 and you are not here and there are days that is more than the heart of this mama can take.  I tell your daddy all the time that we are missing a person. A whole person. But the truth is that we are not missing you at all really, because you are here.  Your name rings through our home. Dreams of heaven and what it is like fill the heads of your sisters. They are excited to go, anticipating it even and that is because of you. 

I imagine that if you were here we would have gotten you a fishing pole and some sort of reptile. Maybe a frog to go with Lucy the fish ;)  There would have been a birthday party and you would have asked for Banana pudding because that is your daddy's favorite and he is exactly who you want to be.  We would have had some little boys over to play and drive Kat crazy and someone would have gotten hit in the head with a stick or a bat.  It makes me giggle imagining it. Big would have come because he would think you were the coolest little boy in the world and I am sure he and Janet would have brought you your first set of clubs. I can see you out there swinging that little driver as hard as you can and hear Big talking about how hard you will hit it one day.  Janet, of course, would be the one helping you with your swing.  And Nana would have come too because you would remind her EXACTLY of your daddy and probably be the one she spoils that most of all four of my kids.  My oh my what a birthday it would have been.

However, as Presley reminds me, it would have paled in comparison to the one you had in Heaven.  And though it makes me sad that we missed it, a piece of me is relieved that one of my babies never had to endure this world that we live in.  One of you never had to experience pain or sadness or defeat.  There is no frustration or sin or Satan where you are.  And that, my sweet boy, brings me peace. 

Happy 5th birthday Bennett.  We love you.  We think of you often and miss you EVERYDAY. One day we will all be together and mama will make up for all of the kisses she is missing right now. 

I love you.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Ugly Truth About a Day in the Life of Homeschool. ;)

Dear Friend Whom I Wish I Knew Better,

Yes you, you are the one that I am talking too.  The one that is at home right now, kids on the bus, having coffee with a friend, getting ready for your yoga class.  We are friends you and I.  Good friends actually.  But I do not see you much, nor do I get to join your tennis team or Thursday morning bible study. So we are probably not as close as we could be and in many ways that is disappointing to me.  After all, I would love to learn to play tennis.  Oh hell who am I kidding, I would suck at tennis.  But let's say you were in a cookie club...THAT I could do.  And the yoga class, I am in for that too.

Anyway, I thought I would take a moment and give you a glimpse of the inside of my home on any given day of the week.  Wait on EVERY given day of the week.  You see you probably think  I am TOTALLY nuts for homeschooling. Well, my friend that I could be closer too if I had a life beyond my kids, I am here to tell you that you are exactly right.

Yep I said it.  I am nuts, completely crazy. And getting more and more crazy as the year drifts on.  And yes I like to know where my kids are and what they are doing at all times.  No I do not trust all adults to take care of my kids.  I cannot help it.  I come from a long line of was inevitable.

Oh my friend, I long for the two hours between 6 and 8 when you are up begging your kids to move their behinds, making lunches, checking for homework AGAIN.  I dream of the crying before the bus comes and the list of symptoms that they rattle off daily just hoping they will get to the right one so that you will allow them to stay home.  I fantasize about that moment. I do. You know the one I am talking about because you live it EVERYDAY.  The moment when the bus door shuts, or the car door slams....yep that moment.  Where the world is quiet and you think HOLY SHIT I have 8 hours!!!!!!  Yeah I dream of that. Now, to your point, I am actually dreaming of that, literally, while you are living it because there is no 6 am wake up call at my house.  And if the kids sleep until 7:30...well so does mama.  But that is where my day trumps yours. That is the only place that I actually win. Well not the only place, but some days it sure feels like it.

So here it goes.....The Ugly Truth About A Day in the Life of Homeschool;

7:30 - 9:00 AM Breakfast, fruit, shakes, toast, eggs....maybe all of them.
Then I say in my sweetest teacher/mom voice..."hey girls why don't you go get your books and read a chapter before we start class."  The younger of the two answers with a crisp yes ma'am.  The older let's out a sigh, "accidentally" slams something and somehow on her way by manages to crush her sisters foot...also an accident.  Youngest proceeds to read out loud....oldest reads to herself, disgusted that she is having to hear anyone else breathe while she is are having coffee and taking a hot, uninterrupted shower.

10:00 my calm yet not quite as sweet teacher voice (I can only take so much of the huffing and puffing)  "Great job girls, I have fixed you a snack.  Why don't you head upstairs and I will come up and we will do spelling"  Both girls obey, oldest still disgusted, youngest annoyed.  Meanwhile, the two year old is squishing blueberries between her fingers and sucking the water she has dumped on herself out of her bib.

10:15 AM....We have moved into the "school room" two year old included.  Both girls are sitting ON the school table and they have started a craft. "Girls....(still calm here) could you please get off of the table, put the craft away, and get your notebooks out?"  Crickets.  "Girls, (not as calmly) NOW.  Both girls respond, craft has been halted.  I get out the spelling curriculum and read the first word.  "WOULD, as in WOULD you like to play outside today?"  The oldest rolls her eyes and writes the word.  The youngest spells it out loud and answers the question "yes ma'am can we go after spelling?" I ignore the question because I have just noticed that the two year old has a barbie shoe in her mouth and am running to save her from choking to death.  You are leaving for Yoga.

10:45 AM....spelling is complete.  All of the sight words have been ripped off the wall by the two year old   Onto Math.  "Ok girls next we are going to do math.  What do you want to start with?" Youngest "OH I want to start with flash cards!" Oldest "How about we start with NO MATH"  We go with flash cards.

11:15....Math is over. Oldest has yelled at youngest for getting two right she missed.  Youngest has won the game only because oldest has refused to answer the last three cards.
Oldest is now furious and wants a do over.  We play again.  Two year old has opened all 115 DVD's and taken them out of their cases.

11:45 This time oldest wins.  Youngest is now crying.  2 year old has just colored all over her face with the orange dry erase marker. I spit in my hand and try and wipe it off...."GIRLS (there is no calm here) PLEASE get the history story and go over and sit on the couch."  Both girls respond quickly noticing the lack of calmness.  We sit on the sofa to begin the story.  "Christopher Columbus had three ships....."  I am interrupted by the oldest  "Um mom?" "YES KAT" "I am sorry to interrupt you but Josie is standing on the TV stand" I throw the book, jump the toy box and save the two year old again..You have been in 45 minutes of uninterrupted hot yoga. You are relaxed, your body loves you and your ass looks better than mine.

12:15 History is over.  Youngest is starving to death because she has not eaten in 2 hours, She has raised her hand three times during history to ask if it is lunch time yet.  Oldest is now making a rainbow loom dress that she has been working on since the story began.  Two year old has emptied all 543 crayons into the floor, 213 of them are now broken and one she has eaten.   "Girls, (exhausted and defeated) let's go eat lunch and put the baby to bed."  Insert screams of celebration here.

LunchYou are headed to sushi lunch with your BFF and yoga buddy. You have an hour and a half of nothing but time to chit chat.  I am making PBJ for the kids and drinking a protein shake standing up.

12:45 Lunch is over...two year old has been hosed off and put into bed. The two school kids are putting together a United States of America puzzle and identifying the first 28 states we have been working on. They are giggling, they are singing it together and doing a great job.  I stand in the kitchen and listen.  Would I like to be eating sushi? Yep.  The youngest comes in and says "Mom do you want to hear us sing the states song?" "I sure do (in my mommy voice) "  They proceed to sing it together, pointing out the states and smiling.  They high five when it is over and look at me.  All of the crazy sits back for just a second and I remember why I do this everyday.

So my friend you see, I wish we were closer. And yes, I envy the size of your ass and the tone of your arms and even the sushi you ate today.  But I don't have time for coffee and sushi. Not today, today I am going outside to play red light green light with my girls and then we will make some pop corn and play the "name that song" game.  This is my life.  I am a home school mom.  I am crazy and I am proud of it.


Happy 7th Birthday Kat


You are 7.  I laugh when I think about it because the years have gone faster than I ever imagined.  But here we are with you, our first baby, the one who made us parents, and you are 7. 7 going on 17.  The year went by quickly.  It was the best we have had since we relocated to TN.  The easiest.  All of you are healthy, daddy's business has done well, we are incredibly blessed by our God.

At 7 you are tall and lanky.  You hair is turning darker and you have lost 5 teeth.   You are strikingly beautiful in your own right.  You have the wit of an adult and the sarcasm to match.  You understand things that most 7 year old children do not.  There was a time that this quality was something we were proud of.  But now I fear we may have failed you in some way. robbed you too early of being a kid that thinks of things like if mermaids are real or how does Santa get into the house if there is no chimney. And it is in those times that tears come and will not stop.  Because I know what lies ahead of you. Real life, real world, real problems that increase the older you get.  And I pray that the bit of silly that is left in your heart, that your daddy seems best at bringing out, will stay there.

This year we have home schooled  first grade and to say it has been difficult would be an understatement at best.  You and I have fought non-stop, daily.  There are days that I wonder if you really even like me.  And then there are days and we enjoy so much that I realize that being your mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  On the bad days I go to bed and tears drop as I pray that when we are through, and you are grown, you will not only appreciate it but you will still enjoy me enough to want to spend time with me.  Truthfully, I know that it can go either way.  Some people cannot wait for their moms to visit, others tolerate them at best.  I am praying for option one.  We are very different and the more we talk the more I realize that you just miss me.  You need us both, your dad and I, one on one.  We have not done that well, yet.  My goal for your 7th year of life is to give you more of that.

Kat you are talented. You love music, you love to sing and dance and you are about to start piano lessons.  You are athletic.  Quick. Good hands.  Great coordination.  You are going to be able to be whatever you choose to be when you are grown.  You are smart, but you are easily bored which makes teaching a challenge.  But, you and I make a great team and we are working on it.  The truth is mama would be lost without you.  You are a wonderful sister. Presley is your best friend and Josie wants you more than she wants me.  You are helpful and able to do almost anything I ask of you.  We joke that if you could reach the stove, we could let you babysit.  Your manners are amazing and your sense of responsibility unreal.

Your favorites right now are Pink, Barbies, chocolate, daddy, Janet, Big, Nana, Ava, Francesca Battistelli, Britt Nicole, Taylor Swift, Art, Crafts, Nancy Drew Books and your sisters.  But at the end of the day, Thank goodness, your mama is whose face you want to see.

Happy Birthday Kat. Thank you for making me the proudest, most blessed mama that ever lived.  We love you bigger than the sky.

Mama, Daddy, Presley and Josie Hope