Friday, November 30, 2012

Make it Simple

I've been fighting it the last few weeks. You know..that panic that starts to creep up as you catch the holiday displays going up in the stores...Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all lined up next to each other like diligent soldiers waiting their turn to do battle. Perhaps not the best analogy.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the holiday season! Unfortunately, I find that my desire for perfection tends to kick in at the first sign of pumpkins and tinsel. I am then left to fight the angst of finding the "perfect" everything to celebrate and create the best Norman Rockwell holidays EVER.

Silly ol' me. It hit me hard the other night, when we started decorating for Christmas. The boys and Daddy were outside wrestling lights to the front of the house. Ben was complaining because he wasn't getting enough time on the ladder so I asked him to come inside and help me with some decorating. We have a collection of snowmen and Santas that go up every year and this year I wanted to put them on the credenza behind the couch. I had a plan..a specific plan...a designer/home interior plan. You know "perfect".

Ben started putting up a small Christmas village in the snowman territory....leaving very little space on the snowman side. I started to rearrange things. He stopped, dropped his hands in frustration and said, "Fine, you don't need my help. You just want everything YOUR way!" the exclamation made as he skulked away.

Ouch! It's not all about me...not all about a "perfect" celebration. I realized quickly that I need to stop and view it all from my kids perspective. It doesn't matter how designer perfect the decorations are...the ornaments we pull out once a year, the collection of Santas and snowmen have special stories and make things festive no matter how they are hung on the tree or lined up on a shelf. I need to back off and let them use their creativity, which I cherish and celebrate, to help create our family holiday.

The panic is beginning to subside and be replaced with the smile in my heart as I watch my boys begin to engage in making our holiday warm, funny and exciting. Yea, our family holiday. Simple, beautiful and just like the star at the top of our tree...a little off center!

Friday, March 16, 2012


I'm a reader. I love to read just about anything; fiction, non-fiction, poetry, newspapers, magazines, blogs, children's books (hence my love affair with Skippy John Jones-see earlier post). One of my favorite places to hang out is the library and/or bookstores.

When I had children I just knew that they would love reading as much as I. We started reading together when they were still in the womb. We read while they were babes in arms, sitting in my lap as toddlers and side by side as they slowly learned to sound out words and put sentences together. Soon, I knew I'd find them curled up in the corner consuming a lovely story for hours on end.

But alas, I've waited many moons and it did not seem to be. Sure they loved looking at picture books, they'll pick up the assorted silly graphic novels (ha! sorry graphic novel offense) at the library and peruse the pictures to get the gist of the current Star Wars battle. I wanted more....I wanted to see them completely enraptured by the story...not being able to put the book down until the story was complete.

During the last year we've starting reading together most evenings as a family. I've been searching for the "perfect" book to capture my boy's attention. We've tried many, but nothing seemed to generate the magic I wanted. Last month I stumbled upon Rick Riordan's Kane Series. He is the author of the Percy Jackson series based on Greek and Roman mythology. The Kane series is based on Egyptian mythology. I knew my nieces and nephew were enjoying Percy Jackson and since there were none to be found on the library shelf...I crossed my fingers and picked up Book 1of the Kane Series, The Red Pyramid.

I've started to hear those most beautiful words, "One more chapter mom..just one more..." Riordan is genius at the chapter end cliff hanger....he leaves you wanting more! So imagine my pure joy when this morning I turned to corner to the living room and saw this:
Early morning none the less! Before school! Trying to consume the next chapter! I nearly squealed with excitement, but quickly excited to the hidden safety of the kitchen to do my happy dance. You have to be careful about showing too much enthusiasm about such delicate topics like this...I wouldn't want to spook him!

I know for some, your children have been toting large volume books around since they were 3...and I am happy for you. But for me, I thought this day would never come. I'm still optimistically cautious, but I do think we might be on to something magical!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The pendulum swing of emotions that have plagued me these last 24 hours have left me battered and bruised. The kind that have you asking deep spiritual and philosophical "why"?

The mountain top of joy as a friend's test results come back clean to the depths of pain and sadness at the news a young mother is losing her battle with an ugly disease.

"WHY"? Why does a mother who loves and cherishes her children have to leave them motherless, when another mother is abusing and letting her children be abused and will continue the horrific pattern for years? I'm wrestling with these questions and emotions that roll and surge within me....sadness, anger, frustration...fear.

So I sit and roll the "why" over and over in my mind. My God is big enough...big enough to do whatever..."why not....?" I slowly begin to realize that it is not for me to know. I can only glimpse a small portion of a much bigger story...a story that I have not written...I am simply a small player in a much bigger drama.

I'm reminded of Eve in the garden. "Why" did she eat the fruit? It says she wanted to be as wise as God. Today I think it wasn't so much to have the wisdom of God, but rather to "know". To know the outcome of the story, to know where pain might lie in wait to snatch her heart, to be sure her loved ones would be safe and be in be sure in her own finite, human mind that everything would be okay in the end. That was her want to "know" the end of the story she was not in charge of writing...but instead in charge of in faith and dependance on the author.

I'm asking myself today what would happen if I had the opportunity to steal the book that contained my story and flip to the end? If I knew the outcome? I realize this is why my human mind cannot grasp God's bigger picture. If I knew my complete story, all the good, bad and ugly, I don't think I would be able to live life fully. I'd constantly be trying to edit my perhaps change content and ultimately the end result.

And yet, as I write those words, I stop and think,

"Am I not doing just fact am I living in faith and dependance on the author of my story?"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dusting off the Old Keyboard

Wow! It's been over two years since I last blogged. The other day I realized that I didn't have an outlet for all the crazy ideas and thoughts running around in my head. Sure, there are people to talk to...however, I live in a house full of testosterone and the reality is...they don't really care to hear all my talk.

I need to choose my words wisely when I speak at home. My men only seem to be able to take in a minimum of conversation and most of those conversations start something like, "What would happen if you fell asleep with your eyes open? Would they dry up? Would they fall out?" You get the gist.

So for whomever cares to read about my crazy musing...feel free to tune in. If you know me personally, you know I have an opinion and I would love to share it!!!! Especially in a dramatic sort of fashion.

We'll see what I come up with...stay tuned!