Passing Down the Grace

Today I picked up the book 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R. J. Palacio and thumbed through it for a minute.  This quote jumped out at me:

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These words made me think of my parents.  While I know they weren’t perfect, and I’m sure this wasn’t always the case, when I knew them, they were wise.  Some of the wisest folks I knew.  And as I got older, their wisdom (it couldn’t have been my perspective, right?) only grew.

And yet, I like this quote.  A lot.  It gives me the grace to take my own path, to trek in places that my folks never went and might never have wanted to go–and yet, their lessons about being good stewards of our world and all what inhabit it, their lessons about loving one another, about kindness and respect and giving–all of those things they sought and sought to teach us, they are in my knapsack as I make my own way.

seeking what they sought
but in my own way

With these words, Bashō-san, a 17th century Japanese poet, gives me the grace I have long looked for.  That I don’t have to do everything just as Mama and Daddy did, as long as I keep the big picture in mind.  I can remember what they taught me and what they were seeking…..and head out thataway.  On my own path.

Grace.  I am not my parents.  But I can honor them with how I live, even if it looks different from what they might have chosen.

Today I was “mother henning” my oldest–pecking and pushing and making all the suggestions about how she should handle this or that.  As I was typing my next message, wanting to “suggest” one last thing to her, I wrote, “And while I am mothering you…..”

only the word police, also known as Ms. AutoCorrect, not only didn’t like my word choice, she knew better.  She knows me and she knows my girl, apparently, because, in the words of the young folks, I got served.

AutoCorrect changed it to “And while I am not being you…..”

Ahem.  Well.  AC, you can just drop the mic and walk away, because what you said…..

truth.

I hear you.  I get it.

I am not being my girl.

And she is not being me.

And that is a beautiful and wonderful and magnificent thing.  That we can all be different and yet have some of the same things on our hearts–that we can live those things out in different ways, on different paths, with different styles and dreams and plans for reaching the same goal.  That is really good stuff.

Peace.  Kindness.  Love.  Justice.  Mercy.  Compassion.  Laughter.  Joy.

All the good things.  With so many paths to find it.  And so many ways to show it.

All the love.

Tonight I am thankful for a message that came to me not once but twice today.  And I’m thankful that when I was given this grace, I was reminded to pass it on to my own fabulous daughter who is no longer a child, but a young adult–filled with her own dreams and goals and beliefs and her own plans for seeking many of the same things I’ve been going after all these years.

Just looks a little different, that’s all.

And that is absolutely, slap dab, downright wonderful.

Somehow it makes this journey a little easier knowing that.  We can do it together–we just don’t have to be each other while doing it.

May you find the message of grace you need today in a book or billboard or in your very own heart.  Or maybe even in AutoCorrect.  It can happen.

Love to all.

On Being Off-Balance

I have had the great pleasure and joy of having not one but two Wesleyannes in the house this weekend.

Aub came home, and her sisterfriend joined her.  The whole crew, including Miss Sophie, have carried on as if it were one big party.

And it has been really, because I can’t think of anything better to celebrate than being together and napping and laughing and playing and napping–oh yeah, and napping.  Because, you know, college is hard.

As these young women will tell you, the struggle is real.  One week back from Spring Break and I know they had at least three mid-terms to take this past week.  Underwater basket weaving was not one of them.

So sleep has definitely been on the agenda.

But so has fun.

This afternoon and evening the girls and I cleared a spot in the Nest and painted.  I am giggling to myself a bit, with delight, because when I sat down with my own paintbrush and invited them, Aub’s friend claimed she wasn’t much of an artist.

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Well, I beg to differ.  She did a beautiful job.  Hello, freehanded it.  Nailed it.

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As Aub was lettering, she got frustrated, saying she thought her words were off-balance.  I looked, and I thought she was doing a fabulous job.  In the meantime, I was getting ready to Mod Podge my words on my work, and I slipped up and placed it at a bad angle.  As I fussed to myself and was quickly peeling it off so I could move it, both girls looked over and said it looked great.

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They both suggested I write about being off-balance tonight.

So here are my thoughts.

We can feel off-balance, frustrated that everything isn’t a-okay-perfect in our lives.  The truth is nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect.  It’s hard to plan ahead on where to start so we end up with everything in exactly the right place at the end of the day.

However, isn’t it interesting that, while each of us thought her own piece was a train wreck and all off-kilter, the others thought it was lovely?

That’s all I have tonight.  What you think is a tore up mess and very obvious to the world probably ISN’T.  So just keep on keeping on, trying your best, because everyone has something go wonky at some point.  Grace abounds.

And sometimes when things are wonky is when they are most beautiful.

May you all find yourselves with just enough off-balance to keep things interesting.

Love to all.

Real

Every now and then a thought comes to mind, and something sitting beside it whispers, “Yeah, move this one to the head of the line.  This one needs sharing now.”

Today has been one of those times.  The thought that has been nudging me for a couple of days insists on being shared.

And heard.

So here goes.

What you see here is only a snapshot out of the thousands that are taken.  What you see here is only a sliver of all that is.

What you see here is not representative of all that I live.

This is accurate about my blog, about our Facebook posts, and about what we tweet or pin or post on instagram.

Each of them just a blip of what goes on, and then it is only what any one of us is comfortable showing.

There’s so much more that isn’t.

 

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of my Daddy telling me many times, “You compare, you lose.”

And you know why?

Because we don’t know.  We don’t know what all someone else is going through.  We don’t know what they don’t post about, what goes on in their home when they aren’t on Facebook or taking pictures to share later.  We.  Don’t.  Know.

My life is good.  I’m very, very fortunate to have what I need and so much more.

But what I don’t write about sometimes are the really messy times.  The times I ugly cry or worse, ugly yell.  The times I sit in traffic and mutter (mostly) under my breath about the crazy drivers around me.  The projects I start and then give up on.  The projects I never start.  Mount Washmore piled up on Cap’s couch waiting for my attention.  How high the sink of dirty dishes gets before it’s on my nerves enough for me to get in there to remedy the situation.  How sometimes my children have to call my name more than once to get my attention.  The OCD that makes even me a little crazy.  The tears I cry over things that happen because of decisions I made and the things that happen that I couldn’t prevent.  The arguments over clean rooms, messy rooms, not playing at the house around the corner, showing each other respect, what’s for supper, whose turn it is to do (fill in the blank here) first, lights not turned off, toilets not flushed, dirty clothes on the floor, and so much more that my head is spinning (and not from the vertigo, I don’t think, it seems a little better today).

Here’s the thing.

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I’m real.  I’m human.

We all are.

And while this isn’t an excuse for poor behavior, it does mean that I’m not perfect.  None of us are really.  Except for well, maybe, perfectly broken.  That one could work.

And it’s in that brokenness that I find myself.  The real-est me.  The one who has to dig deep and try harder.

And that’s when my soul grows.

Someone up in this brain of mine thought we might all need to hear that.

We’re all messy, broken, hurting, hurters, loving, loved, and beautiful.

So next time someone’s story or comment or picture or even their presence right in front of you causes you to question where you are, what you are worth, why you are even here, know that this is only a glimpse–a glimpse they are letting you see, and that’s it.

There’s so much more than what meets the eye, as we are standing on the outside looking in through the only open curtain.

Tonight I’m thankful for a story shared by a guest speaker at Evening Prayer tonight.  She has quite the presence–tall, lovely, excellent speaker, and she exudes a peace and tranquility that is a rare treat to find in a person.  She told the story of shopping and having to stand at a counter for twenty minutes before being addressed at all.  She was frustrated.  Well, of course, right?  In that moment I saw her as human and broken just like me.  I saw myself mirrored in her eyes, and I realized that the grace I offered her in the “well of course you were frustrated,” I could also offer myself, because we are not all that different.

I love how she finished her story.  She had a decision to make.  To be THAT person–complaining and letting the world know about her much-justified frustrations or to be THAT person who is patient and kind and handles it with grace.

We all have that choice, don’t we?  To be frustrated that we’re not having the kind of awesome day that Jocelyn just posted about, that Twila got a new car and we’re still driving our old one that breaks down every 52.5 miles.  That Junior got a promotion with a huge bonus and we can barely eke by on what we’re making now, no raise in sight.

We have a choice.  We can be frustrated and feel less than–

or we can know that these are just glimpses into the lives of folks whose whole stories we really don’t know.

And we can be okay with who and where we are.  And be THAT person.

The one who doesn’t compare, the one who wins, the one who is content with where she/he is and is all in.

Wishing you all a day full of learning everyone else is just as REAL as you are.

Love to all.

And the Award Goes To…..

What a beautiful day!

I hope it was a sunshine-filled day where you are too.  We’ve had our fair share of cloudy/cold/gray/rainy days, and I love those too, to be quite honest, but today the sunshine and blue skies just suited.

It’s been a day of taking care of business.  (More cleaning out of things that belonged to those I love.  Today it wasn’t as hard as it has been, and that tells me I can do this.  It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it’s doable. Which is good, because it has to be done eventually.)

It has also been a day of laughter.

My sister Mess Cat and her little guy Shaker mixed in with this crew?

A blast.

While my Fella and Leroy were hauling the heavy things from over yonder back to the house, we watched the children.

Ahem.

Well, we did.

And we talked about silly things like TV shows and things our children have been up to.  We talked about serious things like worries and the like.  And we talked about books we have been reading.

Mess Cat and I both LOVE books.  We both love to read.  Over the years we’ve shared many a good book back and forth and enjoyed talking about them.  (Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor, I’m especially looking at you. #tearsofsorrowandjoy )

Hey, Mess Cat, I think we’ve had our own little book club going and didn’t even know it.

But that was before.

Before the heartbreak and pain and grief.

It was interesting and somewhat comforting to me today when Mess Cat said that she really hasn’t been reading like she used to.

I was worried it was only me.

And since she’s making a concentrated effort and being intentional about picking up a book and reading it, I am encouraged.  Maybe we will get back to being the avid readers we were before the grief and anxiety took over.

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As we were talking, I hopped up from my Roost and found the book I picked up for a bargain price the other day.  I had to buy it for the blurb on the back alone.  HILARIOUS.  I shared the first chapter with Mess Cat and my oldest, and we were all three laughing until tears were rolling.

Good stuff that.

I’ve missed it.

Aub said that her Psychology professor has used some of this writer’s material in her classes.  I found that fascinating, so I read the author’s biography on the book jacket.

And this grabbed my attention.

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I read it aloud to my sister and my firstborn, and again we laughed.

It felt so good.

Mess Cat said through the laughter, “Self-awarded!”

And then the question came that simply had to be asked.

“So what award would you give yourself if you had that power?”

We laughed some more and batted around ideas.

After much contemplation this evening, I decided I would give myself the “most likely to compliment a stranger in a checkout line, at the grocery store, or anywhere else in the general public.”

In addition to this, I also award myself, “Mama who can frustrate her children in 10 seconds flat using less than fifteen words and no body language.”

I’m just that good, y’all.

Tonight I am thankful for the laughter.  For the feeling of not being alone in this journey of raising children, missing parents, cleaning house, and not reading books, I am especially grateful.  I’m also happy that I could find some things about myself that were “award worthy.”

What about you?  What award would you give yourself if you had that power?

(and here’s the thing–you do have that power)

So go ahead.  What’s your award?

Wishing you a day of appreciating all the wonderful and quirky things about yourself.  Name them.  It’s a good thing to love the person you spend most of your time with.  It just makes you a kinder person with everyone else.

Love to all.

 

Joy-Filled Store-Bought Cupcakes

I bought the cupcakes.

Bought.  Cupcakes.

I know to make them from scratch.

I actually prefer them that way.

But yesterday our Princess had to forgo tasting a lovely bakery confection because of her food allergy.  If I can’t guarantee it as 100% safe, it doesn’t happen.

And usually she’s okay with it–she knows it’s important and so she adapts.

But yesterday she got so frustrated and was so disappointed (“I hate my allergies, I hate my allergies!”), it broke my heart.

So today, when I saw the mini-cupcakes with a label indicating they were safe for her, I just about did a happy dance in the middle of the Getting Place.  And you bet I paid what they were asking for them…..they were worth every penny to see my baby girl’s big smile and get her hug and hear her whisper in my ear, “Mama, you’re the best ever!”

My only problem was I brought those in the house just before mealtime.  So my answer to the inevitable question “Can I have one now?” was of course the inevitable “No.”

After we ate I was busy cleaning up the kitchen and then working on Christmas-y things.  Both our Princess and Cooter came in asking for a cupcake.  Seriously, people?  You just ate (or picked at) lunch.  No.  Just no.  Cupcakes can be afternoon snack.  Please at least act like what I fixed you for lunch sustained you for longer than 2.5 seconds.

Finally, after they asked me the umpteenth time, I looked up at the clock from the cards I was signing, and I told them both, “2:30.  At 2:30 you can eat a cupcake, okay?”

And they were off, so happy.  (Note to self–next time set a time for them to watch for before they ask 227 times.)

As luck would have it, at 2:29 I was in the laundry room with my head stuck in the washing machine, digging out the last five items from the bottom of the washer. (It’s a tall washer.  I am not.)  I heard their excitement as they counted it down.  It was cute, but it was not without a little bit of exasperation that I wondered if they would SEE with their eyes that I was a little occupied at the moment and grant me an extra minute or two to get to those much-anticipated cupcakes.

I heard them wondering where I was.  Nope.  They wouldn’t be able to see past the cupcakes when the clock read 2:30.

And before I could get all self-righteous and huffy, thinking, here I am doing their laundry and they can’t just wait…..

I had the wind taken out of my sails.

And I realized that I do that too.

I have my sight set on something–a goal, an event, an item–and all I can think about is that.  Not what the person who can help me with it might be going through or what else might be going on in the world at that exact moment that I want this/need this/anticipate this to happen.  I can’t see anything beyond the “something” in that moment.

It is so easy to become self-centered and focused on something such that nothing else matters.

*sigh*

I quickly started the dryer.  And moved toward the cupcakes.  I had given my word, after all.  They were given out post haste, and the enthusiasm and excitement over them was worth it all.  My girl was tickled to find something bought that she could have.  And they were really quite pretty too.

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Tonight I’m thankful for the reminder that it isn’t all about me.  It’s easy to fall into that mindset.  Way too much so.  And while it’s important for the littles to learn it’s not always about them, it’s also important that I do make it about them from time to time.

And what better way to do that than with lovely cupcakes?

Wishing you all someone to make it about you, and someone for you to make it about them.

That’s what keeps the world turning, I think.  We all matter.

Love to all.

Grace and Home Improvement

I learned something new today.

They say you should make that your goal each day, you know?  So today I did it, and that makes me glad.   Doesn’t happen every day, so it’s kind of a big deal.

Today Leroy and my Fella were hanging some shades for me.  It was no small task, and I am thankful they were willing to take it on together.

While they worked and Mess Cat and I visited, the thought occurred to me–the thing that Mama often quoted:

“Many hands make for light work.”

Truth.

But that’s nothing new; I already knew that one.

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And I thought about another thing I know from home repairs and home projects–“Measure twice, cut once.”

That one came in handy big time with this project.  We almost made a really big mistake.

It’s a good thing to remember–like “righty tighty, lefty Lucy.”  I use that phrase a lot–especially when I’m outside turning on the water spigot.  I love little memory tricks like that.

But it was when the project hit a snag today that I learned a new and important part of home improvement projects.

Leroy and the Fella were putting their heads together over what would be the best next step to take.  The Fella mentioned our local hardware store not far from here, and Leroy’s face lit up.  “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to go in there.”  They were both smiling at this point.  It was pretty close to precious.

“You know, it’s not a real home project until you have to make at least one trip to the hardware store,” Leroy told me.

Really?  No, I didn’t know.

But I do now.

After they returned and were working on putting holes where holes needed to be and not putting holes where holes didn’t need to be, Leroy put a hole in one of his fingers.  (Well, not a hole exactly, but there was plenty of blood.)  He asked for a paper towel and a band-aid.  As I went to gather them, I thought of another quote of Mama’s: “The right tools make any job easier.”

Leroy quickly cleaned himself up, put on the band-aid, and went back to work, announcing, “A trip to the hardware store and an injury.  That’s how you know we’re almost done.”

Again, good to know.  Duly noted.

Tonight I’m thankful for windows with shades and for the two guys who made that happen.  Isn’t it awesome that we all have different gifts and talents and that we can share those to help others around us?  I give thanks for a job well done and for lessons learned in the midst of it.  All other lessons aside, Leroy taught me once again about the gift of grace.  He set out to do the job, but his game plan allowed for grace.  Grace when all the necessary tools weren’t in place, and grace for when there was a mistake.  He didn’t beat himself or anyone else up and make the whole experience even more difficult than it already was.  He had built-in grace.  We need something we don’t have?  No worries, we can go see what they have at the hardware store that can work.   A slip of the hand and there’s a cut and blood?  No problem, clean it up, slap on a band-aid, and let’s finish this job.  I love it.  Today my brother-in-law and my Fella taught me that even in home projects, in the words of my Bubba, “It’s never that serious.”  It’s all about getting it done.   Doing the best we can with what we have and keeping our wits about us.  Working with others and helping folks out.  With smiles on our faces and grace in our hearts.

Kind of sounds like a good way to go about life too, doesn’t it?

Love to all.

About Smiles and Being Beloved

Some Sunday nights at our gatherings we talk about hard things.  We attempt to answer hard questions.  We wipe away tears from laughter and from introspection.  And though we may not leave having answers to all of the questions (or some weeks, any), we leave with a sense that we are not alone in our questions and doubts and heartaches and joys.  That is huge.

Truth?

It’s what most of our Sunday evenings look like.

This past Sunday night my pastorfriend shared this video from Phileena Heuertz of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.

It’s all about hearing ourselves called “Beloved” by the One who created us.  That we are just as loved, each and every one of us, as our Creator loved the Son.

That’s a lot to take in.

While the words said in this clip were powerful, what struck me the most were the faces.  The faces of the people in the video.  When the camera focused on one person and his or her face filled the screen, I found myself searching.  And yearning.

What was I waiting on?  What did I want to see so badly?

And then it came and I knew.

The smile.  One after another.  Their smiles transformed their faces.

I know folks say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and I won’t argue the point.  And while I recognize that tears are truly an intimate thing to share with another person, I realized as I watched each person smile that smiles are the most precious, intimate, and vulnerable things we can give to another person, especially a stranger.  It brings us closer.  Tears can come, and it’s okay if the person sitting with me doesn’t also cry.  But a smile is nearly always shared.  When we are brave enough to share a smile, we wait and hope for one in return.  And we are often crushed if it isn’t.  When each one of these people in the video smiled, so brightly and openly, I found myself smiling right back.  Connected.

And I know this happens every day.   We might not be the best at opening up like that to strangers.  But when we do, it’s rare that we aren’t gifted one right back.

The idea of being beloved.  Of being worthy of being loved.  That’s hard to accept sometimes.  Many times I don’t feel like a beloved. Or like I’m worthy of more than being tossed in a holding pen for a long, much-deserved time out.  Is it hard to feel loved in those moments?  Absolutely.

What if, what if we are one of the ways our Creator shows others they are beloved?  What if we could do just that–look someone in the eyes, smile with all our being, and say to another, “You are beloved.  You bring this world great joy.”

I think that could be just about the most precious thing to be called to.  To tell others they are loved.  By us.  And by the One who breathed life into them. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  There are no “buts” in God’s love for any of us.  Nor should there be any in the love we share with others.

Beloved.

It’s a beautiful, mesmerizing, and life-changing word.

Who needs to hear they are beloved today?  Look in the mirror, hug your friend, smile at a stranger in the checkout line, and tell them.  

You are beloved.  

Love to all.

 

 

 

Pep Talks

There’s a moment I look forward to every day in our homeschooling adventures.

It’s that moment when Cooter finally decides to buckle down and get his work done.

Finally.

He sits with his pencil gripped so tight, his head bowed close to his papers, and works so intensely I can just about hear the wheels turning in his head.

And that’s when he starts.

The pep talks.

For himself.

I took notes this last time just so I could tell y’all word for word.

Because, really, pep talks.

It’s when he finally hits the point that he realizes I’m not backing down and it has to be done if  he wants to continue a life with any privileges at all.  And he gets real forceful with himself.

“Okay.  You can do this, Cooter.  Come on.  You got this.  You can’t let fear rule your life forever.  You can do it.  That’s it, Cooter…..”

and so on.

Wow.

I mean, I feel like I can do it for him after that, don’t you?

And that’s usually when he gets it done.  Usually.

What is it with my children and pep talks?  I mean, I’m choosing to find it pretty cool and a bit amusing.  But there’s a wee part in the back of my mind that asks, Are they doing this because I’m not cheering them on enough? 

I don’t even know.  I hope not.

Remember back during the summer when our Princess left herself a note to cheer herself on for her last day of swim lessons in the hope that she’d get tapped to audition for the team?  It said, “It’s the last day.  Make it big.”

This evening was her very first swim meet.  She was so nervous and excited and it was downright precious.  She has spent all week working through those feelings and getting herself ready for this ‘big day.’

This is the sign of a true swimmer.  Their event/heat/lane lists on their arms or legs.  I think she's a little sad that it has started to fade.

This, I’ve learned, is the sign of a true swimmer. Their event/heat/lane lists on their arms or legs. I think she’s a little sad that it has started to fade.

My version of pep talk for her was keep smiling, do your best, have fun, be a good sport, and remember to say thank you.

And she did, each and every one, I’m fairly certain.  She did very well, especially considering this is the first time she’s done anything like this.

Tonight I’m thankful for children who teach me what it looks like to love and speak kindly to oneself.  I am thankful for a friend who taught me what I needed to know in my new role as “swim mama.”  And I give thanks for her teenage daughter who took the time to mentor our Princess and be a guide and encourager for her in this new experience.  Not everyone is able to give themselves pep talks in every situation.  That’s where we come in, y’all.  To be encouragers and give folks the pep talks they need to let their lights shine.

Take time today for a pep talk–either for yourself or someone you know who needs one.  C’mon, you’ve got this.

Love to all.

But What Does It Do?

This one starts off like the classic meme–

I don’t always watch the commercials on TV, but when I do…..

they make me sad.

Forget the ones that are inappropriate and the main reason I cannot watch live TV with my children.  (Well, don’t forget them, but we’ll set those aside to discuss another night.)

Never mind the ridiculous ones.  I’m a little over the two guys eating in the car at Sonic.  They might have been funny once, but, really?  Enough.

And don’t get me started on the movie trailers that get us all hooked and then they say, not yet rated.  I KNOW what that means, and sure enough, another one we were looking forward to is shelved until the littles are older.  Thanks Marvel and Disney.  Way to go.

No, this one’s about the ones that make me really sad.

The ones for the stuffed animals.  But wait, there’s more.

These stuffed animals aren’t just stuffed animals.  There’s one that rolls into a ball and bounces.  There’s another that you can use as a bag to hide your unsightly pajamas–you know, because tucking them under your pillow just will NOT do.  The one that really takes the cake is the one that has a fish tank in its belly.  I kid you not.  A fish tank.  Or you can store Legos or other small things inside the see through stomach on this stuffed animal.

Wow.

What a world we are creating for our children when even their stuffed animals must multi-task.  What happened to the cuddly stuffed animals that you just wrapped your arms around and let your cares melt away?  I’d even take the ones that talked when you squeezed them over this.

It’s what the world is like now, isn’t it?  We can’t just be.  We must also be able to do…..so.  much. more.  And it breaks my heart.  I see it a lot as a stay at home/homeschooling mom.  I saw it when I was a working Mama.  You’re introduced to someone and the next thing after hearing your name is, “Oh, what do you DO?”

It’s how we relate to each other.  We categorize and compartmentalize and move on.

Now we’re doing it to our children’s toys.  Nice bear…..but what does it do?

*sigh*

What these little folks must be learning from us.  Go, be, do, and then do more.

Just no.

I’m more than my Mamahood, though that is a huge part of me and I love it.  I’m also more than the homeschool teacher.  I’m more than I appear and way more than what I do.  I’m what I feel and whom I love and a composite of every moment I’ve breathed on this planet and every decision I ever made.  I am more.

But not because I DO more.

Simply because I am.

So no, I won’t be ordering the bubble belly bear or the boucing ball hippopotamus.  I just can’t do it.  We’re quite happy with the simple ones we cuddle with and wrap up and play ‘ten like with.  Then they can be and do anything we imagine.

And without letting myself be put in a box, so can I.

Love and wishes for a soaring imagination to all.

The Zoo Crew Report

News from around the water cooler (or, you know, the kitchen sink):

I spent the ENTIRE trip home from seeing Mess Cat at Blackberry Flats this evening being interrogated–no, I don’t mean just questioned–by Cooter about the lineage of Lucious Malfoy, his wife, and the Longbottoms. (No, I don’t mean Draco and Neville.)  For those of you playing along, that would be some of the folks from Harry Potter.  Only he’s asking about a generation or two back…..before Harry entered the picture, before his birth even.  He also was very intent on figuring out who took Neville to his grandmother after his parents were tortured.  And here’s the kicker.

He’s only seen the first movie.  He hasn’t read any of them.  Princess is on the sixth book in the series right now, and he asks her questions, but she’s shut him down.  She tells him he will have to read it himself.  So these questions are coming from the knowledge he’s gained by playing the Harry Potter Lego game.

Wow.  Those things are spot on and include a lot of detail.  That’s impressive.

Oh y’all.  My oldest grew up with the books and movies and grew along with the Harry Potter characters.  I don’t know if this is real or if I dreamed it, but if JK Rowling comes up with a prequel, that would make me and my little guy very happy.  For him to have the magic come to life as he reads it, without knowing things ahead of time–that would be awesome.  Reading a story such as this for the first time as it is released is a wonderful experience.  One I want each of my children to have with a story that they fall in love with, one that captivates them.  That’s what the joy of reading is all about.

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Seen on the tissue box on our Princess’ bedside table tonight–a handwritten sticky note:

“It’s the last day.  Make it big.”

A note of encouragement to herself.  The note refers to her last day of swim lessons tomorrow.  I cannot tell you how much I love that she is encouraging herself.  And she’s not doing it by comparing herself to others or putting others down.  She is simply telling herself to be–and to go and do her best.  In the words of her older sister, “Awww.  She likes herself.”  Yes.  I believe she does.  I hope nothing ever takes that away from her.

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Last week my oldest, Aub, was in a situation where she could either sit and listen and stay put OR she listen and then speak her mind.  No one placed any kind of expectations on her.  It was entirely up to her.  And in a moment, she was every bit of her almost nineteen years and then some.  A lot.  She nodded and said, “I’ll do it.  I want to speak.”

Later when I mentioned to her that I was proud of her for doing what she felt was right in the moment, she replied, “I didn’t want to leave anything unsaid.  I didn’t want to walk away wishing I had said something, anything.  So I did.  And I don’t. Regret.”

It made me think of this quote from Mitch Albom:

“Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.” 

Amen.

I am thankful my girl knew this without even reading it.  And so she spoke.  She’s brave, that one.   She’s a pretty awesome and strong young woman–one who can speak up when she needs to.    And I think she just might like herself too.  That is my fervent prayer.

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Tonight I’m thankful for these ones I’ve been given to raise.  Most of the time I don’t feel worthy, lots of times I laugh that I even think I might can do this, and every now and then I sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that there is peace in this house and all are well. Tonight is one of those rare and precious moments.  And I am grateful beyond measure for that.

Wishing love and laughter to all.  And may you really like yourself.  That’s the real gift right there.