Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dreaming and Planning

This past weekend was just a tiny taste of summer. Enough for the kids to put a few (hundred) miles on their scooters, riding around the block to Grandma's and back. Enough for Daddy to get started on cutting down some little volunteer trees I've been after him to get rid of for a (few) year(s) out by the garden boxes. Enough for Grandpa and a gaggle of cousins to smoke an entire lamb for Easter dinner out in the back yard in a homemade smoker. Enough for me to start dreaming of all the things I want to do this summer and get really quite geeked up about working, playing and living in the yard.

But, of course, nearly instantly the temperatures dropped again. I love Michigan. Born and raised here and really can't picture life anywhere that's not an afternoon's drive from one of the Great Lakes. But sometimes? Sometimes Michigan is a little hard to love. Like just after the hardest winter in at least 100 years, teasing us with Springtime temps just to thrust us right back into the cold.

I suppose it's really just as well. There's still so much to be done inside before I go full on neglect and spend entire days out. I've got a list of inside projects that I really should get to before expanding my project list to include all of the outside, too. There are rooms to paint and curtains to sew and closets to dejunk. I'm refocusing inward but with that little spark of excitement that comes with the realization that it's almost here...almost time. So I whip up another 20-minute shift dress for Rosie and clean out another cupboard, keeping one eye on the thermostat. I can't wait.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Owning It {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

"Mama, come play UNO with me!" It's 8 am the day after Easter and this coffee is too weak. I think I am, too, and there's nothing I want to do less than play Uno, even with that gorgeously handsome 5 year old with that hopeful look in his eyes. "Maybe in a bit," I mumble, sinking into my chair and immediately climbed on by the 2 babies. Sometimes I can feel covered in all the needs that are always and ever piling up.

I've gone a bit off track in the past year or so. With the daily work involved with just keeping 6 small people alive, somehow I lost the joy in it...and began to coast. I can see how my creativity waned, how my energy flagged, how I'd come up with a litany of excuses for myself because I'm awfully good at that.

"It's just a season" is one of my favorites, one that good and well intentioned Mamas tell each other when they are having a tough time.  "It's just a season, sweetie. Go easy on yourself." And yes, it's a true one. But for me, the past 11 years could be described as "just a season." Meanwhile, my children are growing older and soon won't be children at all. Am I going to spend their precious golden childhood days claiming a season off? Because of a baby or a pregnancy, because I'm too tired, too stressed, too self centered to set myself aside?

The truth is, having kids is hard. It's a big job, but more. It's full of sacrifices. Those sleepless nights with your first ever infant lay the groundwork for the many ways you'll need to just push through. Push through the exhaustion and parent anyway. Push through your personal issues and get up every morning ready to be who they need you to be. There are times and ways to take moments for yourself, to work on you, but when the sun is up and the kids are begging you to go out and play with them in the yard? Set it aside and go. One thing I've found is that throwing myself into life with my kids actually makes me happier.

Every now and then, I have to remind myself to own it. I have 6 kids. They are small. There is laundry and dishes and meal plans and whole nights spent up with sick kids. That's a given. A toddler who needs to be potty trained this week and a baby who is cutting molars. A preteen who needs extra attention and support and a million other demands besides. Own it. Sometimes I get distracted and think that sacrifices are hardships...but that's not necessarily true. Sacrificing ourselves for others is a way to experience God in a meaningful way. I find that, along the way - I discover even more joy. Being a present, happy and devoted Mother to my children will  be something that I never regret doing. No matter how these people of mine "turn out," it will always be worth it every ounce of energy and intention I give.

There will always be grace to cover my weaknesses, and for that I will never stop being thankful. But there's also a time to just get up in the morning and own it. This is my job, my life, my vocation, my sacrifice and my honor. This is life.

It's a beautiful day, with lots of things to do and lots of opportunities to serve. I'm blessed to live it.


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes.  A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life.  A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now. 

You might post recent struggles or thoughts.  Maybe just a picture or a quote.  Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post.  Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together.  Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday!  Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below.  Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us!  And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter.  This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Starting Again

It's quiet here. Almost 8, yet no one is up but me. The sun is already over the ridge of the barn and pouring in my kitchen windows. No sounds except the birds outside and the dishwasher shushing.

It's the kind of morning that makes you think you might just be able to start again.

My sister in law likes what she calls "Start Dates." On a date chosen in advance, she starts over fresh. Everything from cleaning her house to balancing her budget to painting her nails or exercising. A day to reset and reaffirm goals and aspirations. A day marked like a flag that going forward? Things will be different.

Start Dates are wonderful, but there never is just one. Not for her, and not for me and not, I'm sure, for anyone. We just don't work that way. Change happens a little bit at a time, a little bit over time. And sometimes you have to start and start and start again.

How many times have I said "Today, I start working out. I'll keep it up this time." Or "Today, I will stop eating sugar." "Today, I'll smile more at my kids." "Today, I'll work on appreciating my husband." Too many to count, and yet each and every Sunday I end up in that same pew we always frequent, confessing those same downfalls time and time and time again. Weakness is a marker of humanity. Even at our strongest, we're weak.

The strength to starting over is admitting that and having the courage to keep on trying, knowing that it's always worth it. Even if from the outset we're sure to fail. Knowing, always, that He's by our side and has us by the hand, encouraging us onward.

It reminds me of my many years in ballet class. Every day, the same exercises. Every day, the same teacher walking past, murmuring praise and corrections, sometimes even physically manipulating your body to where it needs to be - gently, yet firm. Sometimes stopping class altogether to focus on one weak spot you have, getting down on the floor with you and working with you until you get it. Day after day after day, starting over, trying again, learning sometimes painful lessons and gradually...things really do change. And glancing in the mirror - you can see it.

A Teacher, working with us to create Art in us - gradually moulding us into who He always meant us to be. Tirelessly starting again each and every sun-filled morning - and even on the cloudy ones, too.

Longing for Easter morning, ready to start again.

{The dancer pictured above is my sister Prisca. Beautiful inside and out.}

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