This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

As We Approach This Close

With 2013 eeking to a finish, and 2014 peeking its Killroy eyes up over the fence, here is what I'm finding:

I enjoy puzzles. They have an attractiveness about them that lures unexpected conversation from whoever is sitting with you. I am a quality time girl. To me, this year's 1,000 pieces meant giggles with my girls, rubbing hands with my honey, playing footsies with Sam under the table, catching up with my brothers, getting to know my teens. Who knew all that came in a cardboard box?

I don't want presents like I used to. This year I got a scrapbook kit. I spent the better part of the last two days scrapping every picture that dared to be loose in my house. Sixty-five pages in about eight hours. My fingers, back, and buns are killing me. I won't sit properly for the new year, but this present is going to fill me up even more when I watch my family thumb through those pages. They'll laugh, chortle, giggle, and even guffaw. My husband will well-up because he is a great father and hates that moment when he realizes he didn't see our babies changing. They won't even realize they are giving me the second (and best) part of this gift. Just some paper and ink? Maybe. 

Our family rocks at tradition. We have celebrated Thanksgiving with a talent show every year for the last five years. They make us laugh. Cry. Keel over in side splitting I-can't-laugh-any-harders. But mostly they make us realize we have some amazing gifts in our clan. Musicians, dancers, singers, artists, comedians, politicians, feaux gangsters… the list is endless. And this is our second year foregoing presents for presence at Christmas and New Years. We used to get away, my family and my brothers' families. Now we knock a few things off our bucket list. Last year we drank yellow snow (aka made pineapple snow cones using real snow), tried an Olympic sport (ice skating at North Star), trekked through the wilderness looking for The Polar Express (snow shoeing and hot chocolate), and even found a lost city! (Swimming at the Atlantis hotel). Three days of serious fun. 19 people from 6-60. Just the best. This year we are doing it again. We saved our present buying money and we are headed over the river and through the woods to someplace warm. No, not Aspen. SACRAMENTO. We are going to surf (indoors of course), eat, safari for some wild animals, eat, scale the highest roller coaster heights, eat, swim, eat, and eat. My love bucket is going to be overflowing after this week. There ain't nothin better than family time. 

I'm also finding that I hate it when my husband is gone, and I love it when my husband is gone. Let me explain. I miss him every minute when he is away. I sleep awfully, I have sole driving responsibilities with the children, I am responsible for everything, and there isn't anyone with a mustache to smooch me to sleep. On the brighter side, since he HAS to be gone, I enjoy the down time. I'm a pretty busy girl. I need down time. He has way more energy than me. He doesn't love it like I do. So I save my down time, and crafting, and chick flicks, and meatless meals for his work days. We are both happier about it. 

Finally, and speaking of down time, I'm finding I enjoy the timing of the midweek Christmas. At first I was bummed because it was throwing off my schedule, but my early week was full of cleaning and crazy and wrapping and planning. Then it was Christmas Eve. Christmas. But then. Then. It was just Thursday. With nothing on the agenda. Just Thursday. And do you know what followed that? FRIDAY. Nary a pant to be worn in this house. No thank you. We sat. And laughed. And puzzled (see above). And watched. And scrapped. And colored. And ate. And drew. And that was all. Thank you Wednesday Christmas. We owe this one to you. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Words Can Be Sticky

Ever come across a quote and know it's going to change something about you? Maybe change everything about you?

Ever read something and wish you hadn't because once you read it, it's part of you now? You can't unhear words. Sometimes you can choose to phase it out or focus so hard on something else you aren't as affected by it, but sort of you still are. The second you start to wonder, "Am I strong enough to hear this again without freaking out?" You can't possibly know until you repeat the words or you listen to them again. But then it's too late. It's a terrible cycle. Unless of course God keeps bringing this word around and around to get it through your my thick head.

Today (and last May) I read a quote by A.W. Tozer. He says, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about is."

He wrote those words in 1978. I was two, but I am pretty sure he wrote them so that one day I would hear them, and they would stick. These words have implications. These words get a little heavier when they are in the same chapter as this quote:

"To risk is to willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch him come through. He starts to get real when you live like that."

Because we don't know God simply because we grew up learning about him or because we go to church. We don't know him because we were baptized or refrain from cussing. Really knowing God doesn't happen because we volunteer to bring food to needing people or help with the annual food drive.

Willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God...


He's real and he wants to show us in the small things and the big picture, but it's going to take a moment of risk on our part. Then the most important thing about us will in fact be what comes to our minds when we think about God and it will be words like


Know what I mean?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just A Little Pick Me Up

So. This picture is funnier if you know me. While there IS a chance I woke up this morning and decided to fill my mug with vodka, there is also the chance that I haven't had a drink in nearly 15 years. One day I prayed about alcohol. God said it's not for me. I'm the designated driver, the videographer when your night's gone awry, the one who whispers "take it easy" so they'll let you back in this establishment. Oh. No. It's ok that we started the night as strangers. I'm a community helper and a lifetime mocker. It's what I do. I make mock. So, by all means. You do what you gotta do. But let me get my camera first. 

I have a dream that one day I'll post a video that will go viral. You might just be the key to that dream come true. 

Before we get too far, I made this mug with a sharpie, a mug, and my oven. I washed it once and it's nearly all disappeared. I have a dream that I won't be mocked by Pinterest and their crafts. 

I have a dream that I will stop answering the phone in my half-asleep. It's as if I don't know I can let the machine get it. Er. You know what I mean. One time, yesterday, I picked up the phone at 8:30 in the morning. It was a complaint. It was painful and irritating to sit through, and I'll be honest, it took me too long to stop attempting reason between her barrage of eff words. I should have refilled my mug and sat that one out. Instead I tried to help. Idiot. Another time I answered the phone at what can only be described as where Jesus' praying hour and satan's play date meet. 6am. It was my sister. I was pregnant and on bed rest so she deserved what came next. I answered the phone and spoke "you have reached Mike and Shontell. We can't come to the phone right now. Please leave a message after the beep." Then I pushed the number seven for a while. 

I have a dream that airline tickets and house prices will drop considerably for the 15 minutes I mean to purchase both. Is it too much to ask? One house, 6 bedrooms, a basement, an acre or eleven, and two dishwashers. Plane ride to Missouri. Juneish. Because someone is marrying her lobster. Click. 

And finally, I have a dream that Christmas will be about something that matters. I don't even care what that means for each person. Christ, family, forgiveness, reunion, laughter? As long as it isn't about Walmart and their commercial campaign this year. Kids screaming and jumping up and down because they can finally feel happy now that they have this toy! I cringe when I see this commercial. I want to hug those kids and punch their kittens and say something profound to all of Walmart. I feel like this last one will have to remain a dream, except for in myself. I have a dream that I will be Michael Jackson and start with the man in the mirror. 

Wanna stand next to me? What's your dream? Everyone who comes to Hollywood has a dream…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just Don't Look Too Closely

To look at me you might choose from a few phrases to describe me:

Wow, killer boots, man!
Your hair is so (fill in the blank-large, puffy, rad, engulfing)
You're nuts. That's a lot of kids!
You're awesome; look at you go... (maybe no one says this last one)

But sometimes I feel like I am on the spot because of the sheer size of my family. I warn you though. Just don't look too closely.

My smile is often sarcastic. My hair is from the day before...or the day before that. My dinner is left over. My pants have been worn at least twice. My socks don't always match each other. My children have their jammies on under their clothes for faster transitions. And, while I am actually looking busy, this face only means I forgot why I walked into this room in the first place.

This day has been one of those where I fight the devil and use my old lady swears (inside my mind) because he is coming at me at forty different angles. I didn't even realize I had that many angles approaching me. Let's not discuss it.

I woke up late.
I spilled tortilla chip crumbs all over my car floor.
I tried to start my car. It didn't work. Twice. My hunky fire fighter husband saved the day. As usual. He's kind of a big deal around this city.
I lost my keys. I mean I lost my keys, and then I lost my replacement keys. That's cool.
I found set number two. Still waiting to hear from set number one. Ring a Ling Mr. Keychain!
I forgot I had to work until five. I thought I was leaving at 4. Just kidding apparently.
I got home to finish school with the kids. Our school website is down. Ok maybe this one is a blessing in disguise. We are snuggled up to a Christmas movie now instead.

I'm fighting back with my glass half full. This is where my kids would say "up your butt with a rubber nut". We are making the most of this crazy day.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Dear 2013, You've Been Good to Me

My husband and I accidentally started a fun tradition some years ago close to New Year's Day. We were laying in bed trying to get in as much conversation before we fell asleep. You know how that happens? When the kids are around you get in three words of a sentence, and don't even realize you haven't passed on the important parts until someone doesn't show up to pick up the kids. No? Just us? Oh good.

Well, we were trying to catch up on everything. Funny stuff Sam said, what expenses we have upcoming, funny stuff Layla Grace said even though she wasn't trying to be funny. And, then he said, "Can you believe all the things that are going to happen this new year?" So, we started naming them. We took turns. Back and forth. Nearing sleep a little more with every bit of anticipation. We laughed. Got near tears. And overall, we realized how amazing our story is.

This year I decided it is a good idea to take a look back as well.

In 2013:

I took a leap of faith and quit my full time job.
Took a job that allowed me to set my schedule, which means my family gets me first.
We switched churches back to our friends to see what God has for us.
My kids turned 16, 15, 12, 11, 9, and 7.
We became parents again by temporarily adopting a Chinese teenager for the school year.
My kids attempted some new sports (ballet, track, volleyball, basketball, snowboarding)
So, I drove a lot.
We tried snow shoeing (most of us loved it).
I was published as an internet writer.
My husband turned 37.
I turned...a year older.
I made my little house a little happier by painting some of her bare walls.
We all got a little better on the guitar.
Some even got better on the piano.
Izzy switched into a very challenging school experience and got her IB wings. She's working it out.
I became a professor, and then quit to keep my husband feeling loved.
The adults in this house got some new tattoos.
My nephew graduated and left for college, which I realize hasn't obviously to do with my immediate family, except that when his school was hosting Fall Preview a month ago, MY oldest asked to attend, and then decided God may be asking her to attend there as well. DID YOU HEAR ME PEOPLE? I took my DAUGHTER to tour a college! It's too soon. My heart. doh.
We went back to the life of homeschooling. Ah. Breathing room.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mini-Van Confessions

It's the weekend for a few more minutes. For me, my sabbath begins on Friday and ends on Saturday. I work on Sundays, but I am determined to have a day the Pharisees would have been proud of. No work. Now how. Not me.

I'm about to confess make up something. There is a very real and slight and not at all likely chance that I took two naps yesterday.

FINE! What do I have to say for myself? Nothing. Except that I also went to bed at ten. Are we far enough into our relationships for confessions? Good because here comes another one. I took two naps and went to bed at ten after drinking two cups of coffee and a cherry coke.

(Is the cricket chirping bothering anyone else?) Please don't look at me like that. I have road rage and caffeine addictions, and I have retirement goals to swear like a sailor. Whew. I feel better.

OK. One more confession. Because it's almost Sunday and there is an entire group of Protestants  who feel like confessing to others makes the world a happier place.

I stopped at the movie theater on my way to the grocery store.
I did it. No one was the wiser.
I volunteered as tribute, and I loved it.
Hey, I do feel better. Looky there.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm Rebelling

But what's new? Seriously. I feel like most of my life I have bucked some invisible system. I hate statistics, and, since I was a kid, I've worked to never be one. 
I know. That's impossible. Everyone falls into some statistical category. I guess I mean the lame ones: 
Teen drinker
Pregnant out of wedlock
College drop out
Gang member
Sound off the wall? Not when you go to inner-city Las Vegas High School. It was like they brainwashed us in the other direction. They metephorically chanted against these thing as we walked our school halls. Their method worked for most of these, but I dropped out of college three months in. I was given a fair hand, but I chose not to give it a fair shake. And I think I regret it so much because it made me a statistic. 

Now I think there has to be a different way to reach kids. Tossing academics and high standards out the window. Holding kids accountable. Expecting anything from a teenager except drinking, partying, dropping out? That's it sometimes. Parents, educators, adults, principals. Sometimes these negatives are all they see, so if a teen isn't falling into one or more of these sad categories we are all winning, right?
But God said he came to give life to its FULLEST. He wasn't talking to the 30 and older crowd. He meant eight-year-olds and 12 year olds and 17 year olds. 

I read a book called Do Hard Things. Written by twin brothers, 19 years old. Everyone who works with kids, has a kid, is a kid should read it. I got it on audio and finished it in under four hours. It's an easy read, but challenging. 

These boys are ordinary. They are teenagers. But they love God, they seek his wisdom and direction, and then they do things no matter how difficult they seem. They decided they are sick of the older generation expecting nothing but statistics and video games from today's teenagers. They are raising the bar and asking kids to jump. Because of this attitude, they are reaching out and affecting millions. And not just anyone. They are affecting teens. 

Do you follow a teen on Instagram or friend one on Facebook? Do you ever notice how, even if they have only been on there for a week, they have something like 900 followers? I've been on Instagram for years and I can't seem to break 100 followers. It's because teenagers have this attractive quality about themselves. When even one of them stands up and steps out, EVERYone listens. 

I have four (who act like) teenagers living in my house. Under my own roof. As their mother, I want them not just to stand up and step out. I don't want them to be haphazard. I want them to affect their "900 followers this week" for Jesus. But that means I have to do my job as a mother, and my husband has to do his job as a father. 

My kids affect people. Every minute. Nearby and far away. I want them to do it right. I'm starting by having them listen to this book. We are going to read it together. I'm continuing open conversation about anything and everything. I'm setting an example with my life. Mostly a good one. I'm asking hard things of them. I'm giving them opportunities to reach out and be aware of those who hurt. I'm expecting much of them. I've raised the bar and I'm watching as they leap over. I'm praying for them. I'm connecting them in relationships to solid people in our life. The rest is on God's hands. 

Recently, I've added another small chapter to my role with teens. God has brought some girls around who come from tough upbringings. Either they grew up with no family or slightly off based families. Some have just moved out and still need a mamma hug every once in a while. They are teens and college age, and I love spending time with them. We cook dinner together whenever they can make it on a Sunday afternoon. I love connecting with them. 

I watch as they interact with each other and practice being adults. I watch as they interact with my kids and revert to being kids themselves. I watch the light bulb come on as they realize family can mean something different. I am so blessed. I am so grateful that God is allowing me to be in their lives. It takes time and energy and sometimes I find myself wanting to take a Sunday nap, but that's exactly what these boys meant when they said "do hard things". It's choosing. Even when you know a route is going to be difficult. 

And just maybe I will leave my own kids worthy footsteps to follow. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Lazy Mornings

This morning, to celebrate my eldest child's delayed start at school, we all stayed home to sleep in. It was totally out of my hands. I tried to be responsible and leave at my normal time, but the universe was against it. THE WHOLE UNIVERSE. So we are spending the morning getting ahead, or catching up in this case, in our sweats.

Here is what is happening:

Me: taking a minute to blog to you because I've been cold-hearted and aloof. I checked my Instagram, played a nonsensical word game, hid my head under my covers, read two devotions today, and found my Christmas present on Amazon all before getting out of bed. Oh the wonders of smart phones. But, seriously, iOS7, you blow.

Izzy: up early because thats just what she does. She likes to roam the bottom floor of the house alone as much as possible. I think it's a product of being the oldest of so many people. "I just need some alone time, Pappa." Now she is headed back up to bed.

The Others: parked in front of computer screens, attempting to get school work done. None of their clothes match in the slightest. Sam is wearing what he likes to call his "smart underwear", and I believe him because he is actually giving some great answers.

This conversation happened:
Layla Grace: When I get my first car, I want a personalized license plate that says, "STANFORD"
Sam: When I get my first car, I want a personalize license plate that says, "HEY HERBIE. I LOVE BANANAS"
Then. There was quiet. It's tricky to know where to go from there.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Been Just Too Long

I don't like being away from you for so long, but when I show you what I am about to show you, you may understand.

I have been hanging out with these children. And I love them. And their faces fill my little heart up to overflowing until I can't think straight. So every time I think "it's time to write a new blog post" the sentences get jumbled and my tongue swells up and my words come out like "readers. Eating. All this time. One day I. LOOK AT THIS BABY". 
This should clear things up a bit. 

The fact is, I have been around for each if these babies, and while I can't prove anything, I am pretty sure they brainwashed me. I can't quit them. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Anti-Procrastination Day?

Do you ever find your mind and body are at odds? I think about Paul and his Bible times “Who’s On First” routine. In Romans 7:15 (ESV) he says, “I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” You got that? Yah, me either. I’m a procrastinator. The problem I run into is only my body likes to procrastinate, not my mind. This picture is motivational to me, but not in the way you are thinking. 
I heart laziness. I have a t-shirt that supports this as well:
But it's not as glamorous as it seems. When I procrastinate, my body lays prone while my brain runs a mental marathon. Some nights, when I have so much pending, or so much I am supposed to have done, I lay awake making a plan. But most of the time, that’s all it stays; a plan.

Sometimes I wake up and finally put some plans into action only to find I am trumped by God’s will. Which I want to say is fine by me, but really I furrow my brows, mull it over, complain, talk to other people, and THEN give in to his plan. Sometimes.

This morning hasn’t gone according to plan. I’m fine with that today. By this time, I figured I would be in my friend’s chair having my greys washed out like the defiant 30 something I am. Instead, she is finishing at the chiropractor, and I find myself bumping into a different friend, on purpose, at Starbucks. She’s way pregnant and way without enough to do. She was happy to meet me. It’s not a devastating turn of events for either of us. I am handwriting the first draft of this because I wasn’t a back up planner. Rather than anticipate change, I rolled out of bed and into my kerchief and sweats. But that’s ok, too. As I sit here, constantly second guessing my spelling, I am reminded that sometimes basics are better than grand advancements.  (She says as she looks up words on her app).

Basic is not a synonym for simple; I am learning as I go. Eating well and good for me foods is basic but not often simple. Using a pen and notebook is basic but proving to be more and more difficult. (Is advancements spelled correctly? Why does my hand feel crampy already? Is crampy a word? Why does my pen seem to only work in the margins? GAH) And while I am not a fundamentalist with a capital F, I would say spending time with God each day is a basic but not always easy.

It’s not that I don’t want more of God in my life, it’s really that I wake up with 50 directions as possible routes, and I forget I don’t really want any of them. They don’t have the life I am looking for. The capital L Life.

I need to choose. The end. I need to choose. And maybe take preventative measures.

Interesting fact(ish)s:

1.     I am less inclined to veg out on my phone and nonsensical social media and check my emails ten times if my phone isn’t in my room.
2.     I am more likely to read my bible if it’s next to me in the morning.
3.     Then again, I am more likely to stay awake and read my bible more thoroughly if I leave it on my coffee table.
4.     Even more so, I am more likely to want to come downstairs and read my bible and read it more thoroughly if I have coffee ready at the push of a button. That means I have to prep my coffee pot the night before.
5.     And most importantly, I am more likely to do all of this if I pray and ask God to work in me and mean it.

Matthew 7:7 (NIV) tells us to ask. ASK. "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Ask and keep on asking. I love that. It means that God doesn’t grow weary of our constant questions, our questioning, our doubt, our confusion, or our procrastination.

I suppose it’s important to point out that this is not written as a suggestion. It’s a command. Ask. There is no “maybe you could” or “this could work.” In fact “could” or “would” or “should” have nothing to do with this scripture. God says ASK, and then he names actions we can take that put us in the right spot to receive what he has to offer.
So, here is to anti-procrastination day! Ask and get moving. I’m going to get my coffee.

UPDATE: This is the baby that used to be an inny. He is an outie now. He's amazing. He is Maximus The Lear. I can't get his picture to upload. I'm quitting.

This Monday might be full of procrastination after all. But while we wait to see the final outcome, join me in linking up with A Mama's Story. She's giving away good stuff. She has good stuff to say.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Language Arts in Motion: skip the dittos

Today, Samuel(7) has to prove his phonics abilities through an alternative language arts lesson. Sure, he could show me by drawing a line from the letter to a picture. Sure, he could say sing song phrases such as "a uh about" or he could try this energy using, brain jogging, kinesthetic method which lends itself nicely with his need to move and visualize his learning. 
First, he has to line up his alphabet cards in correct order. Then. He hunts. He has to find a household object that begins with each letter of the alphabet and match it to the letter card. When I feel like he has this mastered, we will focus just on the ending sounds or the vowel sounds. 
An older variation? Try finding a set of rhyming words that begin with your select letters of the week. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

New Trends

There are trends and happenings and goings on around me that I don't totally understand. I will admit that there are a few times, when listening to teenagers, I feel old because I don't totally understand what is playing out. For instance, Gangnam Style.

There have been plenty of opportunities for this song and dance style in my life, but they were all mocking. Was I supposed to really like this song? I feel like the only one who got the joke, but maybe the joke is really on me because that music is off the chain. I don't even know what I am saying now. Totally grasping at straws to seem rad… no? Too soon?

Another trend that befuddles me is the return of mom jeans. Seriously, people who make clothes popular?? Yah. Im talking to YOU. Why would you do this? It's cruel. Our teens look weird. Mom jeans are NOT the same as high waisted pants. Classic women from decades past have brilliantly pulled off high waisted shorts, pants, and skirts. This isn't what you are doing. You are buying the most mocked jeans of the century, and then you cut them and make them what will likely turn into the most mocked shorts in history. No ones pockets should be that high. There should NEVER be pleats in your jeans. And you shouldn't create hips because you managed to cinch your belt. (Which actually creates pleats and gives me heart issues). If Saturday Night Live has done a comedy sketch simply to make mock of a clothing item. I think that's a good indication that we need to let this trend die. Do it for the children. Do it for my eyes.




One last thought, which isn't really a trend at all, but a reoccurring happening is my morning sneezes. About ten or fifteen every morning. What. Is. HAPPENING? Seriously. I am waking up because I am sneezing. I'm asleep. And then I sneeze. And then I wake up. How? Why? What do I do? Oh. And it's at five EVERY morning. Five. In the aye em. An hour and fifteen minutes before my alarm. This trend is just rude. 

Did I miss something? Are there other trends that make you want to punch a kitten? I didn't even bring up Honey Boo Boo. The previews gross me out. I can't even watch the previews. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Reno Moms' Blog: Guest Poster

18 Christmases just isn't enough. But that is really all we get.
I have a dream that has almost as much to do with the character of my children as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech fifty years ago. Well, sort of. I want my children to be well-equipped. The situations they experience whilst in my home give them the opportunity to build this character. This paired with the fact that I. LOVE. LISTS (seriously people, it's out of hand) means that I have a bucket list for my kids before they move out. For some of them, I have what seems like lots of time. But then I think of my high schooler, and I realize I have three Christmases left to have everything checked off. That's it. Three Christmases. here we go:

  • Love God; love others
  • Sew on a button
  • Do laundry; all sorts
  • Make a good pot of coffee
  • Always offer a guest a drink and/or something to eat
  • Leave a place cleaner than you found it
  • Roll with the punches, even the sucker ones
  • Communicate with strangers, adults, peers, even when it's tough
  • Shake hands like they mean business
  • Set, work toward, and achieve goals
  • Cook something- anything
  • Sit through an interview and score a win
  • Offer the big side of the cookie to a friend
  • Quote a movie poignantly even if they are the only one who will laugh about it
  • Follow a sport like a real fan
  • Clean a toilet and sink properly
  • Function at a restaurant properly from hostess to tip
  • Understand that there is always another side to the story
  • Confess
  • Sit through a wedding and a funeral....
And so many more. I add to it all the time, and revisit it often. Recently, I was able to cross one of these off of all five of my kids' list at one time. A funeral. Yeah, you heard me.

We spent a week gearing up, shopping for proper attire, conversation after conversation.

Read the rest of our unforgettable experience over at Reno Moms Blog

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Guest Posting: Missing the Good Stuff


Are you goal oriented? If yes, I would probably get you completely. Even if you are abrupt and cut throat about it. If no, I'd like to think I would stay your friend, but really, I won't understand. It's not you; it's me. I am SO goal driven, if I weighed 400 pounds and made it onto the Biggest Loser I would be more focused on winning than changing my life. There's a good and bad side to all walks of life.

To combat this epidemic, I will eat Ben and Jerry's frozen yogurt. Um, before you nay sayers count me out, you are not doctors or trained in the physics of frozen yogurt powers; I will not believe the drivel you present unless, in fact, you agree with me on this point. While we work through this (I eat yogurt, and you think of a witty comeback, I would like to invite you to read me at Just For You Mom.

This week, I am talking about Missing the Good Stuff because we are caught up in the Nonsense.*

*This writer obviously supports Nonsense. So much so that she is choosing to make it a proper noun.

Click here to read more.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Happening

For the last few weeks, some of my kids have been in school, I have been around the office, some kids have been at that very office, some of our teachers have been teaching, and some of my schedule has been schedging- know what I mean.?

But today, today we jumped into it all.
Homeschool day one- check
Teens in school- check
Dinner planned- check
Dance class handled- check
Smooched my husband- check
Dressed the part- check check

Some went wrong. Plenty went right. We realized some things that needed to change, and more importantly we remembered that we need to account for one another.

There are so many times when we are all running our own directions, and we don't have to worry about making nice with the people around us, because we will be on to the next thing in just a minute. When you take a minute, to be in this minute (or hour or day) you don't get that option unless you want fighting and grumpiness and an overall bad day. For me this applies mostly to homeschooling, but really it fits everyone all the time.

When we are put together with another person or a group of people, it's important to take a minute and account for one another. It's like when you have a small house, and then you move to a large house, and then, like the rest of America, lose your house and have to move back into a small house. You sit closer, you bump in the halls, you squeeze around tables, and you wait outside the door because probably you have less bathrooms. You have to account for one another.

It's not all bad. Bumping into my honey in the hallway? Yes please. Kids don't have a choice but to snuggle up on the couch? I'll take it. Impromptu conversations about how Sam's birthmark looks like a chicken leg? Classic. 

Tomorrow, we are going to practice accounting for each other. But for now, I am going to sleep. This mamma is straight. worn. out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just For You Mom: Bear With One Another

Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole and forget about my issues. More often, I want to put myself in timeout and zone out to a saucy episode of Friday Night Lights and scream "GO 33!" Like I am a real football fan. Timeouts are reserved for times when other people's struggles make my heart heavy.

I'm working on my more recluse side. Nothing about me begs to be alone, but sometimes I find myself quoting Peewee Herman, "I'm a rebel Dottie. A loner" when really I should be quoting Jesus when he said loving others is the most important rule we could ever keep. 

Today I am over at Just For You Mom writing about Paul's admonition to bear each others burdens.

I'll keep working on it. For now, "there's things about me you wouldn't understand. Things. You COULDN'T understand. THINGS. You shouldn't understand." 

I get the sense you're trying to understand me. We've been over this.…

Monday, August 12, 2013

On Organizing The Nonsense

Since switching jobs, I've spent some time in my house attempting organize. Futile I tell you.We have a foreign exchange student living with us now. His name is Ted. Well, clearly that isn't his real name because he is from China, and people from China just aren't named Ted. I would say this sounds like a generalization, but I think we can agree on this point.

We can also agree that having an eighth person, and now a ninth person, sleeping under our roof means we have a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of dishes to wash and dry and put away, and just a lot of bodies to fit on my couch. When we sit to pray before bed, I am reminded that we need another chair. Right there. See me pointing? I want it to sit just beside my fireplace and instantly become my most favorite place in the house.

Our ninth person will come and go. She is named My Melanie and she just moved here from Washington. She lives up the road where she rents a room. It's just close enough that I get my hug fix and have her at my dinner table.

My husband and I share a calendar app. It's helped us stay in touch through events and to-do lists. Is that sad? Maybe, but it's sad and organized. The app is called Cozi. We each have it. It's free. When I add things to my calendar, it shows up on his. Plus, each of our kids has a different colored dot. We can keep up with our schedule without wasting face time talking about it. Plus I can schedule him to receive reminders when I need him to remember something. No more skipped braces appointments. No more double booking dinner with his friends and a birthday party for the kids. I like almost everything about it.

Everything in my house needs to have a purpose or it needs to go. I can't seem to fill enough trash bags. It's just all nonsense. It needs to have a place or it needs to have a new home. I just don't want it anymore.

There are however somethings I WANT to bring into my house. I would like a small, but tall, dining room table for my music room. I would like a few more chairs for around my dinner table. A butcher block for my kitchen. Please see above for chair information. And I would like to finish painting my house. The paint I have. The stamina? Not sure on that one.

Ok. In keeping with my goals of organizing, I should get off my computer. It's time to make dinner. But I will end on a note of organizing my dinner. I made a menu in the first time since we dared call this weather summer. I always make a grocery list, but this time I paired it with a menu and used items from my pantry. I was organized. It's worth it. My stress is tinier. When weird things are thrown my way, I am not functioning in chaos, so that little loop doesn't send me spinning.

ON TO THE NEXT! I am making this for dinner. And I already cooked my chicken; I made a double batch the other night at dinner time. One time cooking and messing.

Happy first day of school. Here's to an organized fall. Here's to mud in your eye.

Friday, August 02, 2013

First Steps In Homeschooling: Your Resources to Getting Started

I know, I KNOW how overwhelming it is to start something as wild as homeschooling. It's a lifestyle. It's not like taking a new job or becoming obsessed with a new hobby or pouring every minute into your kids' extracurricular activity. It's actually like all of those. Before I scare you off, let me give you a few pointers on the best way I know to get started.

1. Find a friend: Talking homeschool shop with another mother is a great way to get ideas, keep perspective, and avoid frustrations. Co-ops can be a good way to get connected, but they may tempt you to be a bigger participant than you have time for. Look for balance.

2. Set a schedule: The amount of time you spend doing school depends on your family size and the depth in which you want to explore a topic. On average, I can get through a homeschool day for five kids in about five hours. Some days would run a bit longer if we found something super interesting that held our attention. There are a few factors that make up this daily schedule. Kindergarten lasts about two hours. First through fifth grade about three hours. Middle school and high school is about one hour per subject each day, but we always seem to move along a little faster. The important thing is to make your lesson plans, and finish your work each day.

3. Learn to multitask: Wrangling your home duties and your homeschool day takes mad skills. Find ways to work on home and teach at the same time rather than having your chores eyeballing you at the end of the school day. Fold laundry while your little one reads to you. Unload dishes as you give a spelling test. Make it a game and have your kids pick up five messy items every time they miss a math fact. Be creative. 

4. Teach your kids to be independent learners: The ages and capabilities of your kids are the biggest challenge or help. My children have mostly been homeschooled, so they understand what I mean when I say they have to wait for my help. They are independent workers for the most part. I expect a lot of them in our day, so we aren't stuck with homework that night or catch up on Friday. If you have all elementary kids, they will have shorter spurts of independent work. If you are lucky enough to have some space between some of the grades you teach (pipe dream with my kids 12 months and 18 months apart) you will find you can space your direct instruction time between your kiddos. Middle and high schoolers are primarily independent workers. You will set them up and let them loose. They will seek you out when they need help, or you can stop in when you have a sec. My kids are usually placed around the house, so I make my rounds. 

5. Finally, your very best starting tool for new homeschool families? Take care of you. Eat breakfast, spend time gearing up in prayer, check your calendar, plan for dinner, take a shower, make your to-do list with no more than six items. Take your time to chill when it's your natural down time. I have two; I don't really do mornings. I do coffee and read and pray and mosey. I also need a siesta in the afternoon. I wish I could take a two hour nap, but a ten minute catnap will have to do. At 4pm, I am fading. My lunch has worn out, and it's past school hours. I put myself in time out for about 10-15 minutes and snooze. I take care of me, so I  not so crabby about taking care of them. But after spending nearly every minute with my kids each day means it is fine if I call a time out. 

Homeschooling can seem a bit overwhelming. These five steps are not the end of the list, but certainly these bits of advice will get you headed in the right direction. As you get into finding curriculum and lesson plan ideas and even lesson plan books, you will see there is a great big world waiting to help you. Homeschooling families love to help. So start up there with step number one. Jump in. You'll love it. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Brewer Home School

We have homeschooled* on and off since my 15 year old was in kindergarten where she began her school career in private school. She is now in public school in an International Baccalaureate (IB) program where she is rockin it. My kids have experienced private school, public school, and public charter school, but we always seem to come back around to homeschooling. I'll tell you why.

You might be thinking we homeschool because we are scared of the people at public school. You may be thinking we homeschool because public schools just can't teach my type of kids. Or you may be thinking that we homeschool because I can't afford a religious education, I want my kids to learn about God and education at the same time. None of these is totally accurate.

In simple terms, we homeschool because it is the most efficient. It's fast. It's free of busy work. It allows for multitasking. While previously we have homeschooled using curriculum I wrote myself, based on the district's standards and with the help of a few mentoring teachers, this year we are schooling with the help of K12: an online public school program. We used them once before, and it was a great experience.

  • They send you everything. No seriously, we got three computers, two printers, all of our books (text and literature), enough tempura paint to cover a city mural, paper, workbooks, test tubes, a microscope, playdoh, clay, paintbrushes, a scale, rocks for science, math counters, play money, instruments, and on and on and on. Really great stuff.

  • They write the curriculum and tell you what to do each day. This was my biggest complaint about homeschooling. They swooped in and made this part all better. They know the standards. They know what works.

  • They have fun technology and tutors to help with less than fun subjects like algebra.

  • They level my kids and challenge them.

  • There is still time to do the things I want to do if I decide to do them.

  • They track progress and attendance.

  • They connect kids for social events, and not all of them are weird.

  • They give my kids rewards like $50 in Amazon gift cards for taking high stakes tests.

  • Having a large family, I want them to integrate our lessons more. Four science lessons is a lot for one teacher (me). It's just too easy to choose one topic and change it up a bit to fit different age groups. I'm still praying for them to see the light. And by "see the light" I mean I hope they get one of my fifty emails and do something about it (aka hire me as a consultant to write this curriculum).

  • Sending the supplies back was as simple as they could make it, but getting twenty boxes back to the post office was a little taxing. Still. Worth it.

We have always agreed in our house to evaluate what works best for our kids depending on our circumstances and their needs; we don't just assume we will homeschool forever. This year, it's what is right for four of my kids. As high school approaches for my two mid-kids, we will once again reassess. Or is it assess. Well that just looks like a swear, but you get what I am saying. No schooling answer is right forever. A dozen factors change making what worked last year not relevant to what can work this new year.

What is true forever though is that yes, you can homeschool your child. And you can do a great job. If you feel it isn't a natural step, find yourself some resources, ready up on it, join a group of other successful homeschoolers.

Check out my HOMESCHOOL tab above for resources, links to previous homeschool posts on this blog, and stories of our adventures.

If you have ever considered homeschooling, don't be scared. Be brave. It may be the best thing you ever did.

*Dear ABC check people. This is a word now. Get with it and stop underlining my words.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Linking Up With Gypsy Mamma: Belong

I love this weekly exercise. It's good for my brain to type for five minutes straight on one topic, never picking my pencil up from the paper- so to speak.

You can follow the button below for more information, but really the low down is just to type for five minutes on a topic she gives- no editing, no muss, no fuss, no time to rethink what I have said.

Today's topic? Belong

I'm watching Steel Magnolias. I couldn't help myself this fine Saturday. I awoke to a thread of quotes from this movie from a group of girls I have been friends with since forever. It's a place where I belong. I've been friends with one of the girls since she and I were in our awkward phase: we both were regularly mistaken for boys. It's true. I don't want to talk about it.

But we both found a place where we belong. My brother's wife. Our other two best friends who were strong enough to pummel into our group, wade through the sarcasm, and come up with a few of their own zingers are there, too. We are on a group text because iPhone understands us. We very rarely talk about important things. Sometimes we will throw out a prayer request or an update on something, but usually it's nonsense. Clearly I like nonsense. It's home to me.

We live in two different states, three different cities. We are all strong women, and in the world we would never get along. We would be called incompatible because most groups only have enough room for one leader, and we are not a passive. We belong because we all have Jesus in common. Sometimes that can be your only commonality, but sometimes that's all it takes. Thanks girls.

Five Minute Friday

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm a Rebel, Dottie

I was flipping through Pinterest one day and came across a DIY blog that had a well  written author and cute ideas. I saved the blog to my bookmarks. 

This morning, when I woke at five because my internal clock obviously functions on New York time (I don't have the answers you are looking for), I read my bible, read a devotional, checked my emails, prayed for a few people on my mind, read through my list of blogs in my bookmarks; you know. The yoosh. 

So this new blog, which has decidedly been removed from my list, hasn't made the cut. And it isn't just the author. Although she's slightly bonkers in her angry stage. Her readers and their comments hurt too much. 

She wrote about how tired she is of women being asked to dress modestly. She quoted scripture, confessed to being no longer Christian, and belittled men for being so simple minded. And like a true politician, she incited the riot, and then she cut bait. She had so many comments: back and forth arguments. It was crowd mentality at its finest. This is nothing like nonsense at its finest. Well. Not really. 

She blames the church. Well who doesn't, lady. It makes sense though, since God created everything. But in a way, blaming God (because deep down we all know he is the beginning and the end -it's why everyone on a crashing plane prays) just proves that he pretty big. 

She blames men. She blames society. And the most interesting point? When she blames rapists for blaming women. Weird but true. I'd love to see the research on this. 

My question isn't about modesty at all. It's more about why people get so heated over things that are so minor. 

Hear me out. Modesty is important. I know what you are doing when your boobs show. I know what you are looking for when you wear those short shorts and then pretend you don't see when people are looking. I have boobs. I get it. 

But what does religion have to do with modesty? Nearly the entire thread of comments was about "as a Christian". At one point, a woman introduced herself as a Mormon and preceded it with "Christian or not". Whoa lady. You better check yourself. Before you wreck yourself. (Is it her fault if these readers do not understand the rules of word modifiers? What she meant was this isn't a religious issue). 

And I agree. We all live on the same earth, but we do not all live in the same world. We just don't. I have never been raised in a male dominated country (although my grandfather might have sent me on a ship back to Lebanon if my family would have let him. He had hopes I would be a belly dancer. Aw. Grandpa. Funny.) I have never had sisters. I have never lived as a girl who DIDN'T have three older brothers. Our worlds aren't the same. 

My modesty levels were not set by the church. They were set by my brothers. And not because they were getting back to their Lebanese roots and bossing me as the men. They approved or disapproved based on their experience as dudes. And I approved and disapproved based on my experience as a chick. I never want my body to be a conversation piece, even as someone's inter dialogue. 

And someone along the way reminded me that one day I'll have a husband, and while I don't mean I am a possession when I say I belong to my husband, 
I belong to my husband. He belongs to me. It's even. We are gifts, not property. 

It's not religion. It's self respect. It's not men's incapable feeble minds. It's respecting others. 

Men aren't feeble. They are more than capable. They are strong and gentle and full of all the gifts God left to them : love, kindness, self-control…

Their shoulders are literally broad for a figurative reason. They carry so much. Why does it offend so many women to cover up a smidgeon and help them focus?

It's pride. We feel a certain way when we dress a certain way so we ignore how it might affect others. 

Less religion and more common sense. Because hey, if I knew you loved alcohol. I mean REALLY loved alcohol. And maybe it's caused you to slip up a few times, would I walk by you on the street and offer you a drink? Would I invite you to a movie or church or the roller rink and hold my drink in your face, daring you not to touch and being offended when you did? No. I do what most Christians do: drink in private and share a bottle of water with you ;)

Mostly what I want to say is thanks for being intelligent. I'm glad you don't attack one another in the comment section. "I like the way you talk".  

Friday, July 12, 2013

I Want to Be a Writer When I Grow Up.. Or Now is Good, Too!

A few months ago, I not so subtly dropped a hint of obvious proportions to one of my students' mammas. She mentioned she co-owns a website geared at supporting mothers as we bumble our way down this all too crazy path called life. I mentioned back that I write, and I may, or may not, have followed it up on my knees asking to submit an article. I love that every time she and I talk, she pretends like I am the one doing her the favor, but honestly, I want to be a writer when I grow up. I want to use my snarky attitude and realist take on diapering and remind moms, "YOU ARE NOT HERE ALONE! I HAVE BEEN WEARING THE SAME YOGA PANTS ALL WEEK. NO MY HAIR ISN'T CLEAN; I RAN IT UNDER WATER. AND THE REASON YOU SEE SO MANY COLORS ON MY TOES IS THAT I WAS TOO LAZY, TIRED, PREOCCUPIED, DIDN'T ACTUALLY CARE TO TAKE OFF MY OLD COLOR." I wish mothers spoke like this more often.

For reals, I feel more like Ms. Collete Reardon (Saturday Night Live) way more often than I ever feel like Joan Cleaver. Lucky for me, neither of those ladies are my mothering heroes.
I look right and left; I look far back; I look in my own backyard. God is so faithful to surround us with mentoring mothers. At the same time, before we even know what is happening, WE become those mentoring moms. Friends who are older than me, or seem more experienced with life, ask me for advice simply because I have been a mom longer.

It's give and take. It's living in community. It's extending grace and living purposefully together in Christ. It's realizing that it does not actually take a village to raise a child; It takes a church.

If you are a mom, or you know a mom, check out this amazing resource of articles, printables, daily devotions, and my article entitled REMAIN AS DIRECTED.

Click here to visit Just For You Mom

Friday, July 05, 2013

Linking Up With Gypsy: Beautiful

1. Write for five minutes with no editing. Just write.
2. Link back (see button)
3. Visit the person who posted before you.

Five minutes.

Go: Beauty is what we choose. It's how we look at something. It has more to do with the eyes we use and much less to do with how something would rank on a "beauty scale." There's no ranking system. There's no sentence that states a fact about beauty. Except to say beauty is what we make of it. If I decide my sweats are beautiful, I mean REALLY decide my sweats are beautiful, then they are. It's like artwork or jewelry or oatmeal. These are very personal items. If you buy a piece of artwork for a friend, they can choose to look and see something they may not have picked for themselves, a piece that doesn't match their other decor, or maybe. Maybe they will choose beauty and every time they pass that piece of artwork, displayed proudly in their home, they will stop and think of the person who bought it for them. The person who took the time and money and care to think of them enough in that moment to buy them something. That's beauty. Or maybe when we receive a bowl of oatmeal that has a little too much, or not quite enough water, or raisins or whatever else we are used to having in our morning meal, maybe instead of noticing all of those things, we will take a minute and be grateful for food and the love of someone who cared enough to take a minute, a thought, to make us a bowl of oatmeal. It's OUR eyes that make beautiful. What will you see when you look out?


 Five Minute Friday

Monday, July 01, 2013

What's Going On Here!

I deleted my last post. My pictures apparently had minds of their own, and I don't like pictures who think for themselves. Creeps me out. So I quit. I thought I should clarify in case you were here, and now you are here again, and they are gone. You aren't crazy, although I am not a doctor. So, you could be.

Anyway. I am watching everything happen around me and trying to refrain from building a bubble around my family and moving in.

  • friends' car broke down
  • friend had a baby, her gall bladder broke, then her whole body broke which is super convenient when you have a preschooler, a toddler, and a newborn.
  • friends are on their way to move here and their UHaul broke, twice. still waiting on news from that as they camp out on the side of the freeway in Washington and try to stay positive
  • friend's kid had surgery and had a wicked reaction to everything: fever, sick, sick, and sick
  • The Man learned that 19 fire fighters were killed in action yesterday. News like this always hits close to home.
  • friend's washer exploded and ruined their house. Twice.

Seriously, every where I look there is craziness. But bubbles don't protect. They are flimsy and probably smell.

Instead I am standing firm that if something breaks through our calm, God is legit. Like MC Hammer, only better because God would never wear Velcro pants. Ever.

This morning I put my baby on a plane with another teenager today. No grown up. Just a teenager who shares her snarky wit and affinity for recognizing a movie quote when the speaker didn't realize anyone would catch on. Isabelle is 15; I don't even have to right to call her a baby anymore, but she is MY baby. I can't decide if I am sadder that she is so independent and rocks at life or if I would be sadder if she was clingy and lame. She doesn't need me because she depends heavily on Jesus. Even when I am there, we stop and pray when crap happens. She doesn't need me. I am glad, but sort of not.

In a few months, she is going to leave for another country to minister to El Salvadorians. It's what God wants of her. It's what she wants. It will change her life and remind her of God's big plan for her. But it means she goes without me. Again. This is the risk in raising your kids to be radical for God. They do it. With or without you, they go and become fishers of men. Happy fishing, baby girl. I am proud of your choices even when you corn dog your brother and your aim is a bit off and you make him cry.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sometimes I Can't Sleep

So I toss and turn until my brain gets so full I have to do something about it. I guess I'll write to you people. Because I like you.
The birds are up and at 'em. Boy howdy, those guys sure like to make some noise in the four o'clock hour. I like it though. We have so many trees in our neighborhood, there's bound to be a good nest or two to study in the fall with the kiddos. 

Homeschooling again excites me. We have submitted most of our paperwork to the online school in which the kids will participate. They are a very organized group, but can I just say, the lady on my case is on my case. Know what I mean? She calls every three days. "It's protocol" and by that she means "listen big haired lady. I have a job to do, and no matter what we may have agreed upon, I am going to call you and pretend that agreed upon never happened. Gimme your paperwork, and nobody gets hurt!"

For instance. I sent everything except proof of residence (I forgot), Elijah's shot record update (he hasn't updated it on account of I haven't taken him to get his shot on account of we were in Vegas for the week, which she also knew), and the kids' most recent report cards (because I JUST got them in the mail late Friday night). So Stalky McStalkerton called TWICE and sent TWO emails yesterday. I missed both of her calls, so I called her back. I was one of those people who says you are crazy, but I begin the conversation in my smiling voice and the phrase, "with all due respect," and when I assume she is getting upset I remind her, "hey. I said with all due respect. You are sort of a stalker. Sometimes I talk, and you hear 'I am sending you paperwork this instant' instead of what I really said, which is 'back off crazy town. I'll win this.'" Ok. That was mostly inter-dialogue, but she's scared. 

Don't get me wrong. We have enjoyed this school program, and I'd recommend it to almost anyone. It's just that this lady takes her job very seriously. Paperwork is  NOT a laughing matter. 

[insert random office quote] yah, I have lots of questions. First of all, how dare you?

So I guess I will be taking my son for his shot this week. Faxing in a few papers. And singing Brass Monkey by the Beastie Boys, which I used to think was about a guy with a lot of stress, but fancy stress, so his monkey is brass. Now I am beginning to think it's a drug reference. Maybe I'll find a new song. 

[insert random office quote] 
Michael: Hmm... Jim? I am downloading some N3P...
Jim: That's not it.
Michael: Music...
Jim: Yeah.
Michael: For a CD mix tape...
Jim: Close.
Michael: For Holly.
Jim: Mmhmm.
Michael: And I'm looking for perfect songs that work on two levels.
Jim: What are the two levels?
Michael: The two levels being, uh, Welcome to Scranton...
Jim: Mmhmm.
Michael: And I love you.

While we are on the subject, I miss The Office. Those guys have been in my life, faithful for years. Now they are just some friends I used to know from Scranton. 

I went to the gym yesterday. It was quick and painful. CrossFit you two- timing back stabber. I can hardly walk up (or down) my stairs. I hope you are happy with yourself. I look like an idiot. 

Today should be exciting. It's day two of my job. Yesterday went well. I ate a healthy lunch and drank a seriously delicious cafe mocha, straight from the Keurig. Is this even how you spell this funny name? Whatevers. It was yum.

Today though, I get to take two teenagers (one who has my snarky wit and is merely using my place of business as a pick up joint. I mean she Is being picked up there by a friend. And another who is spending the day with me because I like her. She's not my kid. Just on loan.)
  Also, I get a new computer, and I have a meeting with a former student's mamma. She works at this crazy great blog/website  called Just For You Mom.* She said she might want me to write a little ditty or a little datty for the blog. I am super stoked, because that would be brilliant that's why. 

*if you are reading this before the new computer is up and running, this won't be a link. If you are reading this after I add the link, and you are a mom, check out that website. RESOURCES galore! Encouraging words. Some funny. Maybe this girl. We will see. It would be fun to have a different venue every once in a while. 

[insert random office quote]
Michael: We're like Friends. I am Chandler, and Joey, and Pam is Rachel, and Dwight is Kramer.

Back to sleep. Maybe I can get a full forty five minutes. 
Ps this picture makes my uterus arise from its slumber and quiver and reconsider my adamant stance on the residence there.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


My fire fighter husband is the best. Let me count the ways:

He laughs. 
He jokes. 
He loves. 
He snuggles (but not too long, because it's weird). 
He sports tattoos like a rebel. 
He saves lives. Literally. 
He is logical. 
He is real. 
He hugs.
He can fix anything. Literally. 
He invents things when there isn't a device to get the job done. 
He put the handy in manny. 
He makes his uniform blush. 
He is outdoorsy. 
He is indoorsy. 
He is whatever doorsy we are being that day. 
He is blonde. 
He has muscles. Lots. 
He cooks. 
He takes time and teaches my children what matters. 
He prays. 
He says thank you. 
He holds the door for me. 
He rushes to help elderly people. 
He sweeps a two year old off his feet to play a game of tag mere minutes after meeting. 
He understands dude time with his boys. 
He watches me. 
He brags about his kids. 
He comes to church with us. 
He sits through musicals. 
He wears jeans like a champ. 
He is not afraid of heights or dangerous situations or fires. 
He tells me he loves me, and he means it. 
He rolls in a minivan. 
He drives 45 minutes to get home when our stove makes a funny clicking noise at ten pm. 
He reminds my girls they are beautiful. 
He says "bless you" when I sneeze. 
He's mine. 

Thank you for being a seriously excellent partner in this parenting experiment. Our kids are rad. They will always be better people because you are their dad. I didn't mean to rhyme, but you are worth it. Happy Father's Day Mike The Man Brewer. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


I am reading a book. I've talked about it here before. It's called Anything by Jennie Allen. Please just go read it. But while you wait…

I want to hear God's voice clearly, so it's louder and most prominent in my life. I don't though. I hear the enemy sometimes. But most if the time I hear all the nonsense around me shouting for first place. I feel like a cartoon character. I jump up and can't decide between the two (or twenty) options before me. Too many choices. But only because I consider them worthwhile, even if its for just a second. I whip my head around so fast, from distraction to distraction that I can almost picture those little birds circulating over my head. It's dizzying. 

But it's not God's fault. It's mine. If I listened better. If I knew him better. If I was quicker to discard what I know is the fluff and not God's will, there would be no birds. 

But I don't. Not yet. I have heard him here and there. I try to give him credit when things go well. I don't often question him when things go "wrong". But I think he wants us to know there is more to knowing him. 
I had a brief conversation with my brother about one way to honor God. He said it was honoring to capitalize the pronouns we use for God. I said I didn't think God cares about that. I get his point, but I'd imagine he has more important things he wants us to focus on than the capital H in he. 
It's simple. 
He just wants everything. He wants more than five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. He wants our hearts, so that we are about his love and not our busyness. 

If you are uncomfortable or restless where you are, it's because you might be doing it wrong. Jennie Allen compares this part of our life to newly hatching sea turtles. God whispers in those little sea turtle ears and tells them about his big and perfect will for them. The ocean. It's huge and bigger than they can even imagine. It's a blessing they know because God whispered it to them, not showed them. They don't even know other baby sea turtles in there neighborhood who have ever been there. But they believe God's promise, so they struggle forward through the sand. Past predators. So far away. And finally into their promised land…er. Ocean. 

I am a baby sea turtle. Watch me dig. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

This is the Day

After a string of incredibly busy days, we are wrapping up graduation junction with a trip to Las Vegas. My father is turning 60 at the end of this summer, so we are headed down early for some quality conversation and hugs. 

We are taking him out to an amazing place just outside of Vegas called Spring Mountain Ranch where the Super Summer Theatre performers will put on The Music Man. We will bring dinner and celebration dessert and lay out in our cozies under the stars. It will be a nice break from the heat. 

We are also going to visit one of my besties and her little family. I say little because her people are short. Preschool, toddler, and one month old. Thems short. I am going to do my best not to squeeze that littlest peanut too hard. I might make her mamma sign a waiver exempting me from responsibility. After all, I didn't make her so cute!!

We also get to catch up with The Baldwins and their newly adopted daughter who already makes me giggle. 

Beyond these plans, I got nothing. I just want to be in the water and shade and air conditioning. 

I'll post pics, but don't be alarmed if we look like we are melting. Vegas is on the border of hell, so it's to be expected. 

Ps. Maybe we will eat salsa and guacamole as well. Probably. Yes. Actually. Yes. That will happen.