Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Joy Today"

Sometimes all it takes is a mere glance at the calendar or to-do list to turn calmness into chaos and the holidays often amplify that tendency and bring it to the forefront. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hectic and commercial whirlwind of activity and miss out on the little blessings in the everyday that bring true joy. I don’t know about you, but it’s that real joy that I want to experience this Christmas season. 

I’ve decided to challenge myself to take note and record at least one thing that brings me happiness and joy each day over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas.

I’d love for you to join me in the little “project”.  I am personally challenging myself to post a photo a day of something that brings me joy. Maybe you want to do the same. Maybe you’d like to just make a written note. Maybe you’d rather keep it private in your personal journal or even just a mental note. Whatever method works best for you, I’d love for you to concentrate on those little things that bring joy each day.

Won't you join me in choosing joy today?

P.S. If you’re on twitter, how about including the hashtag #joytoday

Blessings to you and yours! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ignore My "House" and Come Into My "Home"

I've been "away" again...between babysitting and my girl on summer vacation from school it seems I just haven't had the time or energy to sit down and write. In fact, I haven't much felt like writing and figured that if I did it'd probably be whiny and nobody would want to hear it. (To be honest, at times I get sick of listening to myself!)

Although the temperatures have been warm, the sun has done quite a bit of shining and I've had some fun times with the family, I just haven't quite felt 100%. I think I'm in my mid-winter slump in the middle of August! NOT good.

Lately, I have been having a little trouble counting my blessings, remaining thankful and refraining from the earthly longings for something more or something better. Especially when it comes to my house. 14 years ago this month, we moved into this house with great expectations. It was our OWN house, it was cheaper than rent and it needed our love and TLC: a lot of TLC! Our plans were to enjoy home ownership, fix it up and move on to a bigger, better house in the country. (Remember my dream of my multiple children playing behind the picket fence with the dog in our large, lush yard?!?) Fast forward to 2012...we're still here...the list of projects to accomplish is still here and longer than ever...we still share a driveway with the apartment house... Apparently, plans change but wishes and dreams don't always.

Last evening proved to be a bit of a breaking point and I had a little meltdown. There was no major disasters or tragedies but it just hadn't been the best day ever. As I climbed on the lawn chair to reach and put our market umbrella down (the joys of being short!), under the pressure of my weight (which isn't a great topic right now, either) the cushion gave way and went through the slats. So did my leg! I'm happy to report there was no injury other than to my ego and my mood. But, yet, I burst into tears.

Next came the break in the ceiling light panel in the kitchen. Leaving the room, my eyes fixed on the crack in the hardwood dining room floor. I approached the living room where my girl was sitting in her makeshift fort she had built out of sheets, yarn, clothespins and furniture. Again, the longing...why couldn't we just have a family room so she wouldn't be making it difficult to maneuver through the house?

The chipping paint, the lack of closet space, the knotty pine kitchen, the cracks in the floor...I've really been struggling lately to be thankful for this old house of mine (a blessing so many are without).

Tears still streaming from my tired eyes, my girl asked me to come sit with her. I guess I haven't been discreet enough about my longings. As I climbed under the fort, I heard her little voice ask, "Do you wish we had a bigger, nicer house?"
"Every day," I replied without thinking. "I don't!" she said. "We've made so many memories here. You carried me through that door as a baby and when I grow up and leave, THAT is the door I want to walk out and return through. This is my home. Our home. We've made memories, we make memories and we'll make more. HERE."

The tears multiplied and ran ever faster down my cheeks.

She gets it. She sees past it. It's her home: flaws and all!

If only I could quit seeing it as the fixer-upper house that'll never be enough and instead work on my fixer-upper attitude to see it as the home that it is: overflowing with love.

Having struggled for so many years (since I was a little girl) with comparisons that have threatened to steal my joy (and perhaps been successful at times), I desire nothing more than to see it as my precious daughter does. To stop wishing for more. To stop comparing myself and my possessions to those around me. To stop being afraid to let people in to my life and my home for fear that they will think less of me if they saw the flaws in my house and even worse yet, in me.

So now that I've showed you what's in my head, maybe someday I'll invite you into my messy, fixer-upper house to share my love-filled home, my imperfections and a pot of coffee with you. Remember...please ring the new doorbell that finally got purchased and installed and ignore the dog hair on the rug, the mismatched mugs and the fact that most likely I've burnt the cookies!

P.S. My girl read over my shoulder as I wrote this post and gave me a lecture about friendship:
"A true friend doesn't care how you or your house looks or what you own. They want to be your friend because you are YOU, not because you act like someone else. They come to have fun with you NOT criticize you."

Do you struggle with comparison, insecurity and longing for more? Have you ever been struck by the wisdom of your child(ren)? Feel free to share your own thoughts, struggles, etc. in the comments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I knew the day would come sooner or later, but I guess I was counting on later.
The phone started to ring. The caller id popped up on the screen. And there it was...HIS phone number. That darked haired boy who likes her. The boy she likes back. The shy, polite boy who shares a birthday with her Nana and a name with her Daddy. He was calling her.

As she held the phone to her ear, I overheard her. I could sense disappointment in her voice. My ears perked up. The urge to listen was a bit overwhelming and I admit I may have found myself eavesdropping. (Please tell me I'm not the only mother who has done a little listening in all in the name of protecting their child.)

I heard her quietly decline an invitation because she had somewhere else to be. I sensed her turmoil: sadness over having to decline but her desire to "do the right thing", be responsible and follow through on what she had already agreed to. I was proud of her, but honestly, my heart was breaking a little bit relating to her internal struggle.

So, I asked her what was going on. That boy. He had invited her to a movie. Not just any movie. The one she has been asking to see and I have been promising to take her to "as soon as I have the time".  (May I always remember to somehow find time for my little girl - even amongst the chaos - before it's too late.)

So, in that moment, I did what any nice mom (or perhaps crazy person) would do. I told her if she wanted to go with him, she should GO! I gave her permission to skip the night of VBS (Lord forgive me for telling her to skip VBS for a "date")...get him back on the phone ASAP and tell him yes...she'd go.  She dialed. She talked. She informed me that they'd be picking her up in a couple of hours. She could barely contain her excitement!

My mama emotions, on the other hand, were all over the place. I was excited for my girl. I was nervous. My heart was breaking a little for the loss of my "baby" girl. Oh, she's growing up too fast. All those nights spent snuggling that tiny baby in the rocking chair are both just yesterday and an eternity ago.

The minutes ticked away on the clock, and at the precise promised moment, the car pulled to the curb in front of our home.  Prompt and punctual he came for her. As her face lit up, she gently turned and kissed me on the cheek before heading out the door and down the front steps. I watched the back car door open...out stepped that boy. I watched as, like a true gentleman, he held the door open to let her in and gently slid into the seat next to her.

Here I was taking yet another step on the journey of letting my girl grow and blossom.

How apprpriate that they were headed to see the movie, Brave. In that very moment, as I watched the car pull away from the curb, with my little girl inside, I had to be brave.

Brave like the mother bird in my parents' yard who is teaching her babies to fly. Brave enough to let her stretch her wings. Brave enough to know when to go alongside her as she gains the knowledge and confidence to reach for the sky and soar. Brave enough to hang back and watch her flying free. (Remember this post?) All the while I hope and pray that she will always remember to return for the comfort and love that await her back at our "nest".

P.S. Accompanied by his parents and his two younger brothers, they had a great time, loved the movie and mama survived. (Though I admit, there may have been some pacing and watching out the window when it started to be time for her to arrive home.) AND she wants to see the movie again...this time with ME!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words...

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so I'm going to refrain from too much commentary and let these beauties I snapped on Friday speak for themselves.

So much beauty around us...remember to take the time to notice and enjoy it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Path

Under bright blue skies with puffy marshmallow clouds, I make my way down the brightly lit path so sure of where I'm going. The aroma of wildflowers tickles my nose, the sunlight warms my face and I cannot help myself from humming along to the bird song.

But, then as if someone flips a switch, dark clouds roll in. The sun fades. Darkness grows.

My once bright, smooth path has turned to dimly lit bumpy terrain and I have all I can do to keep from tripping. As I stumble along I begin to wonder. Am I going the right way? Is that really my destination up ahead? Should I even be trying to get there? 

The questions...the doubt...the fear.

But in that moment, it comes. Just enough light to take that next step. I take it. And the next. I continue one step at a time along life's journey...trusting and hopeful.

*I'm linking up with The Gypsy Mama (Lisa Jo) for Five Minute Friday.
For five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. 
 Want to join in? It's EASY!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. 
And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hidden Blessings

This week's Five Minute Friday topic: Perspective

Some days I could let the clutter and chaos consume me but I have to choose my perspective wisely and find the blessings in it all.

  • That overflowing laundry basket means we have clothes to wear.
  • The pile of shoes by the back door means we have protection for our feet.
  • The dirty dishes multiplying in the sink means we have food to eat and our bellies are full.
  • The fur that gathers on the rug before the vacuum cleaner is put away means we have furry family members to love and who love us more.
  • The stack of bills to pay means we have electricity, heat, a roof over our head, a car to transport us...
  • The girl who grows all too quickly before my eyes means I have a daughter to call my own, to love, to inspire...
  • The diapers and bottles and tiny hands reaching long after we passed that stage means that a fellow mama trusts me enough to let me guide, love and teach her baby girl while she is off helping to support their family.
  • The full boxes on the calendar mean I am living life and have friends and family to live it with. 

On the days that it all just seems too much...I need to step back and remember that really, I've just been BLESSED with more than enough.

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama for this week's