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I wake up to a little voice at my bed. I open my eyes groggily, knowing it’s way too early for her to be awake. But awake she is. She’s blurry next to me, but I can tell she’s expectant and I reach for my glasses. Ah yes, there’s her just-awakened, little two-year-old self, her hair curly and crazy, all over the place. I leave my husband sleeping in bed and take her to use the potty. Realizing her flannel p.j’s are already soaked, I run the bath water, warm and soapy. I pour the water over her head, her hair straightening flat against her back, the water cascading over her little shoulders. I lather up her arms.

 

“That feel better, honey?” I ask her.

 

“Yes, thank you, Mama,” she chirps in her little morning voice.

 

My heart melts that one so small would be so sweetly thankful for a warm bath and clean skin.

 

We head downstairs with her big sister. Breakfast is definitely in order . . . and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. We eat banana muffins and I settle the girls with sippy cups and a weekend cartoon. I sneak back into bed and cuddle long with the hubby, slipping in and out of sleep just for a few more lazy minutes. And then it’s time to hit the day.

 

I clean a few leftover dishes from our cookout the night before. I chuckle over little conversations, smirk over bits of sarcasm, and smile over a movie where shared laughter and tears all rolled into one. It is good to share “hang out” days with friends.

 

My mind shifts and I mull over this post. A couple of days before, a friend had asked if I would be willing to write about my Ideal Day. Knowing it would be fun, but that it would also stretch me, I excitedly, but very hesitantly said yes. So, now I explore what an ideal day would even look like for me. I try to slip out of my usual routine . . . it takes more than a few minutes. A run with my husband by the light of the morning stars, surprises me. We don’t run currently. Actually, I realize, we haven’t jogged together since our honeymoon. I turn that over in my head.

 

The girls play dress-up. I Pinterest-surf. The hubby descends the stairs and we sit at the table and catch up on news and articles of interest over coffee. And then I go back to Pinterest. We laugh over our little ones. A few minutes later, one of them does something annoying and we share frustrated faces and then smile and shake our heads. I know that this is parenting: pure joy, wonder and gratitude, all mixed with the battles against our own selfishness and wishing them into little adults. Oh, how I want to savor them and rest longer in the joy and wonder.

 

We eat leftover BBQ and the best potato salad (ever!) for lunch. He runs out the door for a haircut, I fold loads of laundry and hang fresh, clean clothes on hangers.

 

My mind does a U-turn, back to the “Ideal Day” question. A drive zooms into view. The kind of drive I’ve seen in photographs. The top is down, our favorite music is playing, maybe just the two of us, maybe the kids sitting in the back seat, happily chatting amongst themselves, while we enjoy the scenery, or even do a little out-loud dreaming. Funny, I’m surprised by where I would want to drive.

 

He comes home, looking handsome, and we get ready for a date. His brother and new wife walk through the door and the girls are so excited by their “babysitters”. We slip out the door, knowing our little ones are in very good hands and we escape to reconnect and grab some good food.

 

He sips a beer. I sip a sangria. We talk food and sports, family and politics. It is good to have a conversation where the only interruption is the waiter asking if we need anything. The hubby’s been so busy lately. We’ve been coasting — somewhat content, but somewhat trapped in the routine of responsibility and our individual, co-existing worlds.

 

I turn the conversation toward the idea of this post. I ask him what his ideal day would look like after I sheepishly confess that, really, I’m a little scared to dream about mine. He nods his head, understanding the fear of dreaming. I also tell him how the things coming to mind are surprising me . . . how unconscious desires are bubbling over as I hesitantly give way to even thinking about them. I tell him how a jog under the stars sounds heavenly to me. With him. He’s just as surprised as I am.

 

We’re quiet a few minutes. I ask him what he’s thinking.

 

“I’m just surprised by what I’m finding would be included in my “ideal day” if I could create it. It would definitely include driving….”

 

I laughingly interrupt to tell him a drive was on my list too.

 

“Along the Pacific Coast Highway,” he says, finishing his sentence.

 

My eyes widen, realizing this was the road I’d seen in the picture. Black roads hugging rocky cliffs, white waves crashing alongside, and the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see.

 

“Really??” I squeal. “Me too!”

 

We both smile. Stunned. We have never, ever talked about this desire before. All the disconnectedness and busyness of routine and responsibility melt away in the moment that we realize that underneath the Bread-Winner and the Homemaker, behind the Daddy and the Mommy, despite 8 years of being Husband and Wife, we still have things to learn about one another. We beam, knowing that we have to make this happen and that there is an adventure on our horizon.

The Pacific Coast Highway – photo courtesy of The Travel Channel

 

As I try fall asleep that night, I dream of touring windy roads with my best friend, the salty air whizzing past and all around us. And then I shift, reversing the day in my head, realizing that, really, this day . . . this one day . . . had all the elements of an “ordinary” ideal day. Sweet moments with my little ones, a date with my hubby, a new realization about one another, visiting with family. The only thing was, I didn’t recognize it for what it truly was. When I walked into the family room at noon and pillows were strewn everywhere, Goldfish crumbs galore, a needless mess, I lost my temper to the tune of the vacuum cleaner. When the hubby had to work for a bit, I steamed and huffed and puffed, thick as a locomotive. When little ones pushed my buttons, I pushed theirs right back. And I realize: I can turn any day into a mini-version of hell if my attitude is in the wrong place.

 

But more importantly, if my heart is in the right place, any day is pretty much ideal already.

 

Any day that I’m enjoying the day’s gifts in all of their glory, even embracing all of their imperfections, while still hoping and dreaming about our future? That’s my idea of an ideal day.

 

So now? I’m excited to see where else our dreams will take us. I realize that if I peel back my frustrations over the everyday routine and the responsibilities of making ends meet and raising a young family, I really already have the ideal on a daily basis — if I only take the time to see it.

Click on the image to learn more about how to write about *YOUR* Ideal Day – and have a chance to win it (if it can be won)!


					
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What Has Our Household Rolling

Sooooo….

These completely have our entire household in stitches. *Well* worth the not-even-two minutes!

What a great idea – having kids tell the stories, and the adults act them out. *So* funny! I’m in tears every time I watch these and even the little one is going around quoting, “I WUV YOU BWUDER!”

 

 

Which one’s your favorite?!

You can check out more videos (subscribe for weekly ones!) at  http://boredshorts.tv/

The “Babysitting” one is pretty funny too. Enjoy!

Battle-Fighting and Being Real (so beware!)

I wring my hands a lot.

 

Not really outwardly so much. But inwardly, I’ve been a girl given to anxiety and fear. The Lord opened my eyes to this about a year ago . . . suddenly I saw how fear chains me, shoves me down and straddles me there. It’s not pretty. But I am thankful for the eye-opener because now I know my enemy.

 

The fear isn’t of the Boogey Man…. Spiders? YES.

 

No, this fear is a lot of wondering. A lot of analyzing. A lot of debating. A lot of comparing. Always worried that I’ve made the wrong choice about something, or how maybe I’m missing the boat somewhere, or how I just know we’re pushing ourselves toward the brink of disaster. 

 

These are strong chains, however self-imposed.

 

I’ll think I’ve shaken them off and something out of the blue pops into life and that one fear/worry twitches those chains off in that dark corner, and like a boa-constrictor, they climb their way up over my heart and head until I am one anxious, bent-over girl.

 

Tonight, it hits me that of all the current worries and fears swirling around in my head, there is not *one* thing I’ve actually been convicted about. It boils down to basically my fear of messing up . . . or even messing up relationship. 

 

Suddenly, I realize that the guy-with-the-name-that-begins-with-S is having a hay-day. Hay. Day. Or is it Hey-Day? You know what I mean. 🙂

 

So.

 

I tell him to shut up.

 

And I pray that if there’s something I really need to change, or an area where I truly am bringing disaster upon myself, or my family (yes, I’m saying this a tad tongue-in-cheek – just a tad) that He will open up my eyes and rescue us from that. But otherwise, I just need to stop listening to all the what-if’s and you-should-have’s. Suddenly, I realize that what I want Jesus to say when I reach His presence, is “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.” Nothing else.

 

He doesn’t ask me to make all the perfect, right decisions or to make sure that nothing, ever in my life ever fails. He just wants me to be faithful.

 

Am I being faithful?

Are you?

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I open my Bible to I don’t care where. I just know I need a nugget of truth. And what do you know but I land on Deuteronomy 10:12 -15?

“Now Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.”

 

 

He wants me to fear Him, to walk in Him and love Him and to serve Him. To keep His commandments. I so want to do all of these things. And I know that when I fail, Jesus covers me.

I am His.

 

And so are you.

Thoughts from a Girl in the Woods

We pull into the driveway after a busy day right in the middle of a hectic few weeks. Our yard looks like a jungle. I sigh, somewhat despairingly, somewhat longingly,

“I have got to spend some time in our yard,” I say.

Firefly pipes right up.

“So you can get a breath, Mama?”

I smile, a bit startled at her astuteness, realizing that yes, subconsciously, that is what I wanted. Just to catch a breath.

Yes,” I reply. “A very, deep breath.”

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The wildlife in my backyard does not encroach upon my habitat, but we sit right in the middle of theirs. An intimidating, Tennessee version of a rainforest, lives just off our deck. We stand at the windows and watch the deer graze. Their ears perk at our murmuring and we are the ones behind the glass and they observe us like we are the tourist attraction. Today, the butterflies, flutter and float, sipping from the second butterfly bush blooms of the summer. The birds finally discover that their long-deserted birdhouse is once again filled with seed and they eat and flit, excited, I think, to tell their friends. I can hear the birds’ grapevine for myself, the trees full of extra chirping and whistling. I linger outside, just wanting to soak in all the life.

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And the sweet hustle and bustle of life being given more life.Image

I realize that my daughter is right: life does beg for more life in one form or another. When God created each living thing on this earth by His spoken word, it was good. When He actually breathed His life into the nose of Adam, His very breath was inhaled by human lungs, forever to be breathed in and out, in and out. And when we are most exhaled, the most drained, the most fatigued, whether by responsibility or relationship, what we are most craving is more life. Fresh breath to inhale. And then to exhale.

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When my children are most driving me crazy and when I most want my own space and most want them just to please be quiet, what I’m really wanting is perfect, tidy relationship. What they are usually wanting, is simply more of me.

More life.

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Perhaps it is the same in most relationships. When relationship seems most dead and most impeded by whatever, and we most want to walk away, maybe what we’re most desiring is just the strength for someone to enter in. To breathe life or to have life breathed into us.

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Maybe it’s never too late. Maybe God gives us second summer blooms, or seed in our deserted birdhouses. Maybe where we thought no life was, there’s still a space for possibility. Maybe we just need to revisit.

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Maybe we’ll find something there….

It Came and Went

Today, we read.

Today, we painted.

Today, we counted.

Today, we played.

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Kindergarten, you came.

We conquered.

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Whew. Thank God. =D

 

Marriage Ain’t Easy

Marriage ain’t easy. You know this when you’re engaged. People warn you. You are made well aware of this. But until you live it, you really have no earthly idea what this looks like in real life.

I’ve always hesitated writing about marriage here because I am not wise when it comes to the subject. My hubby and I may be doing absolutely great one day, and then, some old battle rears its ugly head, and we’re back to being our old stubborn, injured  selves.

Marriage is a constant ebb and flow. Marriage is not about fulfillment, although, hopefully, marriage fulfills as much as it possibly can. No, marriage is about giving up all you want or think you need, in order to be and give all that your marriage wants and needs. Marriage is about entering into the relationship, when really, all you want to do is run and hide under some comfy covers.

We had a family movie night on the couch last night. We went through two whole (gigantic) bowls of stove-popped popcorn between the four of us! Apparently the popcorn-loving genes are genetic. 🙂 It was the first time we’d attempted a musical and I couldn’t believe that even the little one sat through the entirety of The Music Man. I was really struck by the song, “Being in Love” which Marion sings with her Irish mother as they discuss what Marion is looking for in love. She states somewhere in the middle of all those high notes,

And I would like him to be

more interested in me

than he is in himself

And more interested in us

than in me

My husband of nearly 8 years and I have this continuing running argument about time together. Basically, it boils down to him being born an introvert, while I was the woman who, after arriving home from our honeymoon to our “just-the-two-of-us” newlywed cottage , begged him for a goldfish. Yes, the little orange things that blow bubbles in a quiet, little corner. 😉 I came from a family of 8 children, five of us being of the talkative, female persuasion and I need lots of life around me. He just needs quiet.

So, for nearly 8 years, we’ve had this same back-and-forth argument about my needs verses his needs. But I’m coming to realize that it’s not a me verses him – it’s a you need/I need, therefore, we need.

Not that we’ve mastered this by any means. Just today we fought the same 8 year battle and I’m realizing that I’m not sure that either of us is supposed to win.

We have to win.

So, I vow to give him more space without feeling unloved. And I wonder for the first time whether God didn’t give me an introverted husband simply to round me out, like some strict, hard-core teacher, like I’ve always subconsciously thought. Maybe, just maybe, He gave me an introverted husband, because He has something planned for me in the extra, quiet times.


Now that is love.

Confessions of a 2nd Gen Homeschooler

 

I woke up, literally nervous to my stomach. Rummaging through my closet, I finally found something to wear, trying to look my part . . . without looking my part. I’d been to these things a million times before, but never in this role.

 

The annual curriculum fair.

 

This time, it was my turn to be the mom and I was scared to death. Scared of running into my past, nervous about whether we’d made the right decision.

 

You see, starting next week, I’ll be a second generation homeschooler. Yes, the world of kindergarten is about to enter our home. I am terrified. 😉

 

Terrified because I was homeschooled all of my school career, save kindergarten and first grade, and I know the ins and outs. Mostly I’m terrified of losing my own identity, while not giving our daughter enough opportunity to find her own. But also about things like time-management and keeping my sanity. 😉

 

But I am also excited.

 

Excited because . . . I know the possibilities. Maybe we 2nd gens can build on all the pros our parents before us fought so hard to make possible, while taking all the lived cons by the horns. I remember my mother being wary of sending us kids out to play during school hours because of the fear of truancy accusations. I can’t imagine living in constant fear of that. Because of parents like ours, who fought for their convictions and aimed to provide better schooling possibilities for their own children, new mamas like me can fully grasp all those opportunities for our parents’ grandchildren. These days, DIY schooling is better than they probably ever imagined and we 2nd gens get to reap the benefits.

 

And I’m really not sure how we got here so fast. I still don’t know for certain that we’ve made the right decision, but it’s the decision we’ve made by prayer, and therefore, I will do my best to make it the best decision. Next year may hold new firsts, but this year, Firefly and I (and Pixie too!) are learning together and we’ll have shared memories of learning to read her first book and counting to 100 for the first time and a million other beautiful things.

 

So, while I’m trembling in my boots, thanks Mom and Dad. You’ve made this school year a possibility. And I salute you.