Monday, August 29, 2011


First, there is a fun giveaway of books for kids in those middle grade reading years.  Go here, read the blog, and give a comment, and you'll be entered into the drawing.  It's about a new book being released, and the whole packet has tons of other books related to the topic - Wolves.  The new release is a cool looking fiction, but lots of the others give neat info and fun other genres all relating to wolves to read.  A bit wordy there?  Oh well, just go enter....

Now, onto the topic of the day - writing.

I write a blog because I am terrible at keeping a handwritten journal.  I write because it is therapeutic.  I also write to share my thoughts with you, as well as record them for my children and family.  A little legacy if anything were to happen.  Not that I am planning on going anywhere, but if I did, my kids and my husband should know that I love them and that I am dependent on God and that He is in control for our good.  If I can state that to them, and they can read it over whenever they need to, then I feel more at peace.  So those are the reasons I write - mainly.

And, then, somewhere along the way, people have started coming to me and telling me I should write a book.  They like the way I write.  Why don't I get published?  At first I poopooed the idea, and said, "Oooh, thank you very much.  So sweet."  But it planted a seed in this little brain, and I have begun to think that just maybe I could give it a try.  Not the book, persay.  But the publishing, well, maybe.  So I entered that contest for Real Simple.  They said No.  I joined a writer's group.  Yet they are in Columbia and I am not, so making those monthly meetings is proving harder than I thought.  For now, I am just practicing.  Here, on this blog - just practicing.  If I ever make it to anywhere else, I will be sure to let you know.  I do plan on venturing out past this page, but I haven't gotten the process organized in my head enough to jump just yet...

A question for those of you that write - blogs, books, journals, devotionals, etc.  Why do you write?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Five Minute Friday

Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday

Okay, I am still figuring things out, like how to add buttons and how to make pictures be the link instead of words, so bear with me.  That picture to the left is supposed to be a button that leads you into another member's little slice of this blog world, but instead you need to click on the words just at the top there.

Five Minute Friday is a writing exercise started by The Gypsy Mama.

Here are the rules:

1.  You write on a given word for the week.
2.  You write for five minutes only.
3.  You publish whatever you write - the first time - on your blog.
4.  You link it all up to The Gypsy Mama's blog so we can all share our thoughts.
5.  You say a prayer of encouragement for the person that linked up right before you.

I think I am supposed to copy her words in all that, but as I said, this is all new to me, and I am still figuring things out, so please grant me a bit of grace and understand my sense of spirited fun is in the right place.

Now, onto the word.
Well, it is supposed to be older, but another woman whose blog I read every day did her exercise last night and since she didn't know the word yet, she wrote on the word unknown
I am going to do a bit of both.

Older and Unknown go together perfectly for me.  See, I consider getting older as a journey in accepting the state of unknown.  When I was younger, unknown could take on various faces, some terrifying and unstable, some exciting and adventurous.  But I always had my parents close by to explain the unknown in whatever the situation.  But in getting older, unknown becomes more real than ever before, and it also becomes more serious.  Unknown becomes more often disconcerting than it does adventurous.  And as an adult, my mom and dad aren't always here to explain it away.  In being older and becoming a parent, I have taken up the position of explainer.  And for me, that's why God becomes so incredibly necessary.  Because, yes, I understand we initially need Jesus for everlasting life.  But for me, on a daily basis, I need God to be my explainer.  In the little things.  I need Him to take out the fear in unknown, so that as I get older, I can get back to my sense of childhood adventure.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beginnings: My Plan

*photo by renjith krishnan*

I have a plan.  And I am excited about it, so I hope it works out.  Of course, I will have to wait to see if it is God's plan.  He always has his own ideas...

I am going to teach in two different ways.

I am going to substitute teach for my children's school, which is kindergarten through ninth grade.  I cannot wait to work with all those kids, and I hope I get asked to cover every grade at some point, from the little bits to the too cool for schools.  This whole substituting is for my benefit, so that I can pick where to end up permanently.  Hopefully God is less selfish and uses me for good while I am experimenting with career choices.  Anywhoo, ....

While I am busy becoming the heroic substitute, I am also teaching during what the school refers to as Monday Enrichment.  York Preparatory Academy (YPA) ends school early on Monday.  I thought it was so the kids could take fun classes, but no.  It's so the teachers can have two hours of weekly professional development.  The fun classes are to offer something for kids to do when their parents don't want to show up early every Monday.  So, being that I prefer to be with kiddos as opposed to away from them (yes, I know some of you think I am crazy) I signed up to help.  Actually, I signed up to help this nine weeks while I write up a curriculum on the history of flight, how it works, and what cool stuff we can make to play with, therefore showing off all our newly acquired knowledge.  I have lots of books from the library, and this computer, so hopefully I can pull this off.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to have them!

My goal:

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  - Proverbs 31:26

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beginnings: Week Two

The reason for this visit was my oldest child.  He's one of the bravest people I know, and his big heart bumps into mine until mine almost breaks - all the time.  He captures people with that heart.  Kids, teachers, coaches all draw towards him.  And as a blessing and a consequence of this collecting of people, he sees them.  Sees them for real. He senses things.  Things of the heart that show up fragile, tender, and sometimes, not quite right.  When people are sad but are trying to hide it.  When strangers are struggling inside and no one else notices.
Why is that person hurting, Mom? 
Why does he not feel well? 
Why is she really angry? 
What is happening that they act like that? 
What's going on, Mom? 

The questions come all the time.  So, wrapped all around his gift of incredible empathy is anxiety of unknowns and icky things.  Fear.  Used to be, I'd go to volunteer at his school, and I couldn't let him see me, or we would just have to go home.  Poor child lost himself because fear took over his little world.  Again, his heart bumping mine and mine just about breaking for his fear.  Then, over time, with help, he grew up enough to cope and walk around and feel secure in himself.  There were lots of ways he figured out coping.  He sucks in fresh air.  He gained confidence through sports.  But the secret cure?   A little rock.  He carries it in his pocket, and every time he touches it, he reminds himself Jesus is with him.  He recognizes he is not alone.  Not going through the day all by himself.  Sounds cheesy to some, a nine year old holding onto a rock to remind himself Jesus is with him.  But if you saw it, you'd be hard pressed to poopoo it.  The rock, Jesus, well, it works.

So today, at my meeting with the guidance counselor (She has the best big southern accent a girl can have), I share our history.  I explain about the panic attacks in second grade and the tears in third and the apprehension with field trips.  And she explains that the reason she could just get to me this week is because she has been meeting with parents constantly for the past five days that have also been sharing about their child's anxiety.  Lots of kids walking around terrified every day that something might show up in their world that they cannot handle.  Fear ruling their day.  I explain my son is stronger now, and that he should be okay.  She told me about a third grader that hasn't survived a full day yet.  The girl's mother just simply cannot be seen or the daughter has to go home.  And I laughed, understanding a little too well.  Because I have been that mother, and I know what it's like being her.

I want so much to go dump a bunch of Jesus rocks on that guidance counselor's desk and ask her to share our secret.  It's a public school, but really.  Jesus isn't too concerned about that.

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear;
what can man do to me?
Hebrews 13:6

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
II Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beginnings: Day Two

Yesterday my babies started their new school.  Key is a fourth grader now, and sweet Kelly is a big kindergartner.  They both had a good first day, and each of them made a friend. 

Key informed me his new friend, Daniel, wants to go to Winthrop University just like him.  Daniel also knows all the girls' names.  I asked about whether or not Daniel liked Legos or Harry Potter or any of the things I thought might have mattered, but Key looked at me confused.  I had gotten it all wrong.  What mattered was that Daniel was nice.  He smiled.  And he talked to my son.  He included Key in games on the playground.  And for all that, they have a beautiful start to a friendship.  As Key's mother, I am grateful to Daniel, and I am remembering that I prayed for him.  I prayed awhile ago for "another Teriyon" for Key on his first day in this new place.  See, when Key first went off to the big world of kindergarten, he was not quite ready.  And he didn't know important stuff like how to open his own juice box.  Well, God gave him a kid named Teriyon.  Teriyon spotted my overwhelmed little Key immediately and sat by him all day.  He opened Key's juice box and helped him tie his shoes and watched over him.  Teriyon had been in daycare and knew the whole school routine.  Key loved Teriyon, especially that first week of school.  Even though they went on to make other friends, I cannot forget that little boy's sweet protective presence over my Key.

And Kelly.  When we took him to his class, he sat so small and quiet in his chair.  The teacher asked me if he would talk, and I told her probably not.  Kelly doesn't talk to people until he feels safe with them.  Once he's comfortable, though, watch out.  And, well, he's getting comfortable quickly.  Kelly doesn't know his friend's name.  But he knows he liked him.  And they got to go on a walk around the whole school and eat snack outside and a girl threw up yellow stuff.  She had to go home.  And today he gets to share five things from home that show how special he is.  Kindergarten is great.  And again, I am so, so grateful.  I prayed for this too.  Kelly and I have not been separated, and I was worried for both of us.  Again, God has provided.

And me.  Well, I ended up volunteering to teach a class for the boys' new school.  I am really trying to become a substitute teacher and to spend time on writing.  In the meantime, I will be planning an eight session enrichment class for middle school age kids (probably mainly boys) on the history of flight.  We will be making various paper airplanes and kites and at least one big project.  Hopefully once the course is over, the general faculty will not hate me for teaching a bunch of middle schoolers how to make the best paper airplanes.....

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, August 15, 2011


So those two little fellas are starting school tomorrow.
I am a bit sad, really, because that smallest one with the bald head is going to kindergarten.
And I don't want him to go.
The biggest one is starting fourth grade.
 He's becoming more independent each and every day.
It is absolutely horrible!
 Not really.
It's just that for nine years now I have been home with babies, and tommorrow I will still be home.
But without them. 

It's not just the starting kindergarten thing that makes me cry;  it's the being home alone thing too.  When I gave up teaching to stay home with my first son, I quickly jumped right back in to working through teaching Sunday school and tutoring students on the side.  But when we moved to Columbia, I stayed home with my babies completely for two and a half years.  Meaning, I didn't tutor or work outside of my home or volunteer much at all.  And every time my sweet Key went to school, I would count down the minutes until I could go pick him back up again and bring him home.  Home was a place of safety.  Yet, starting in the spring of his 4K year, I got sick.  Couldn't leave the house or drive kind of sick.  And when he started kindergarten, I thought it would be good for all of us.  I thought he could get out of the house and make new friends, and I could rest with Kelly.  Only, that's not exactly what happened.  I did rest.  And I did need it.  But I also became a hermit, still counting down the minutes until I could bring Key home.  Some days the only time I left my house was to walk across the street to pick him up from school.  There were days when even that one responsibility seemed too much because I felt so nauseous.  So, so nauseous. And even more than the off and on again bouts of illness, the anxiety and fear of leaving home became almost overwhelming.  The anxiety started defining my day.  And home started looking a bit more like prison.

Eventually I recovered from by medical condition, but in the year it took to get well, the walls closed in on me.  And, by default, they also closed in on my children.  If it weren't for my responsibility to them, I might not have ever left my house.  But I did, leave my house that is, with some help from a really good therapist and a lot of prayer and support from friends and family.  And once I was well enough to appear normal, the final saving grace for healing was a place called St. Martin's.  A preschool.  Most people drop their kids and run.  Away.  Freedom for three or four hours.  For most, those hours of peace and quiet are precious.  For me, the solitude I had just escaped had almost sucked the life out of me.  For me, the chaos was precious.  Women.  Children.  All needing my help.  Needing me.  It was a place for me to work, and a place for Kelly to safely emerge from his shell.  St. Martin's quickly became a sanctuary for my precious Kelly and for me. 

So now, here we are in Rock Hill, and we have moved again.
And my kids will start school - both of them.
I am terrified of those walls in my home.
It was the worst kind of fear - not being able to leave my house.
The worst kind of hurt - to feel useless.
The worst kind of guilt - not being that happy, healthy mom.

And I realize that I cannot go back to that kind of pain.

Which brings me to these two quotes that I found last week from Mother Teresa.

Loneliness and the fear of being unwanted is the worst kind of poverty.

I want you to be concerned about your neighbor.  Do you know your neighbor?

These wise words are going to help me conquer my fear of letting my children grow up and of being left behind.

I have a plan.  Several small ones, actually.

And I will let you know how they progress.

But for now,

Dear Lord,

Please be with all of us that are letting our little ones go off into the big wide world each day.  Please be with our children.  And please be with us, that we may fill our days seeking your guidance, feeling your love, and doing your will for our lives.


P.S.  Please help me not to cry when I drop them off at school tomorrow.  It is just plain embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


My kids are getting on each other's nerves.  BIG TIME.  Since moving, they have had each other.  Pretty much only each other.  We had some friends come to visit, so each boy had the pleasure of playing with non family their own height.  Key has started soccer, which has allowed him to meet new kids here.  Kelly and I have volunteered at their new school, which has allowed him time to get excited about his new class.  But for most of our time, we have done everything together.  We are all looking forward to school...

And yet, my two boys are best friends.  Better than best.  Almost inseparable.

So when Key got a gift certificate in the mail for his birthday, rather than buy the biggest toy on his list, he picked something else.  Something smaller.  So he could share his gift with his brother.  Instead of putting it towards the Wii game he's been dreaming about or getting the newest and largest Lego game in the series he's collecting, he picked another game.  Still Lego, of course.  But less expensive.  Smaller.  Then he took Kelly over to the action figures where they looked for him.  Kelly finally settled on a space police Lego car.  All paid for by big brother.  For the past several days they have been entertaining themselves with a pulley system they designed, where the space police car delivers Legos to a baggie on the lift, and then the pieces get pulled up to the giant on the top bunk who fixes them and sends them back.  Days of entertainment.  Instead of jealousy or conflict. 

Here's the thing.  Key did a simple act of kindness.  He simply shared his bounty.  And in sharing, both of them benefited.  Had I forced this kindness on him, or had Kelly whined incessantly until he drove Key crazy, it would not have been the same.  But instead, it was just a boy that had a thought to think outside of himself.  And as his momma, I could not be more humbled.  (And a wee bit proud.)

Proverbs 11:25

A generous man will prosper;  he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


How can we complain against God for the poverty and suffering that exist in the world? Can we honestly do so? God saw that everything was good. What we do with things is another matter. ~Mother Teresa

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. ~Genesis 1:31

I borrowed the quote from a friend's facebook page.  It resonated with me because I had just finished reading yet another article on the famine of Somalia and the fleeing refugees and the 29,000 children that have died within the past 90 days.  At that rate, that is approximately 322 children or one elementary school full of children dying from famine every day.  Just in one country.  That's not a world figure for all the poverty stricken countries. 

And on the same day that I read all that, I made a pot of soup big enough to feed two families or three dinners for a family of four all from organic stock and local produce I had made and procured just the day before.  All fresh.  All from right here in York county.  Had enough to give some away, eat it for lunch, and freeze for another dinner another day.

The next day we jumped in our car and drove over to our local farmer friend where she proceeded to fill up our largest cooler with organic beef and venison and pork because she had too much and it was starting to get freezer burn.  We have a deal to start buying all our beef from her, but for now she just wanted to share it so it wouldn't go to waste.  After feeding the horses and petting the young, healthy, bottle fed baby cattle, we got back in the car and drove down the road to another farm where we proceeded to buy approximately 35 to 40 pounds of produce for around $20. 

Once we got home, Michael started yard work and I joined him.  I accidentally ended up in a yellow jacket's nest, so I ran inside to my bathroom with clean running water and soaked in a cold bath til I was sure I wasn't going into anaphylactic shock.  After tending my wounds, I realized I had broken my glasses, so I started researching eye doctors and general doctors, where I quickly found out that my insurance will cover a number of people.  I just need to pick one.  From the list.  And in a matter of two or three days, I will have stylish new frames.  And hopefully an epipen for the first aid kit.  Which I was able to load full by taking a quick trip to Walgreens and picking out which style bandaids I thought looked cute and useful all at the same time.

Later in the evening, the family decided after such a hectic day, we could picnic in our comfy air conditioned living room with the flat screen television and pick out a movie from the hundreds of choices we have saved up on our Netflix account.  Since none of those suited us, we luckily found Harry Potter on regular tv and settled in for family night.

I am overwhelmed by the abundance all around us.  Everywhere in every crevice of our daily lives.  So imbedded and ordinary in our world we don't even notice it as abundance.  When all the plumbing backed up in our house this week, a plumber came to fix it within a matter of hours.  All the yuck was cleaned up and life back to normal by the end of one working day.  Even in what we consider an inconvenience (having to drive over to CVS to borrow their bathroom) is a representation in abundance.

Here's what strikes me in the verse from the bible - God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.

I don't know how to solve the famine issue.  Truth be told, most of the time I'd rather not think about it because I don't know how to help and it is just depressing.  But that irksome thought keeps coming back.  He made everything.  And I know what He made is good.  We just may not be taking care of it properly.  And I know that He is a God of abundance - not of either or.  And I am reminded of One Christ, One Body.  Which means that by turning my head away from the famine, I am turning my head away from the amputation and disease of my own arm.  That is, if I truly consider myself a part of the body of Christ.  So even though I don't have lots of money to throw at the problem, I do have gifts God has given me.  To use.  For Him.  And I am praying He will reveal to me how I can share our abundance of His love for us with the world.

More Mother Teresa quotes:

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor.  Do you know your next door neighbor?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This Old House: Plumbing 101

Just so y'all know, roots can block the plumbing in an old house, and when one older gentleman living in a home is replaced with a family of four, it can cause HUGE issues. Like the whole main line backing up and all the toilets and tubs and washers draining into one another and up, up, over their thresholds and pouring out onto the floor. Yes. All at one time. Got some cleaning to do.

But, the place has character. Lots of character...

I was going to write an entry on abundance, but it's taking on a whole new meaning, so I may have to wait til tomorrow when I can stop laughing.