Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Like a Tree

Psalm 1:3
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers. 

This time of year begs for us to notice trees.  Large trees, small trees.....any tree at all....they look so beautiful in the Fall. My ten year old, Maggie, has really been into drawing trees lately.  I love that.  She makes them look so strong.  So safe.  I always think of refuge and shelter when I see the trees she draws.
Trees grow stronger because of their roots.  They grown down, searching for water.  Wind also helps trees to grow.  The wind blows on the tree, causing their roots to shift, to seem unstable for a moment, but really they are finding a place to really dig in and be secure.
I heard recently, "If the wind don't blow, the tree won't grow."  How true that is!  It is the same for us, too.  The winds of life....troubles, etc....blow on our lives all the time. Some times seem more intense than others.  We have to go back to our roots and see where we can be securely grounded.  Our souls search for the water of Truth.  As we cling to Him, we find our source of strength.  As we grip His Words, we flourish.  Our lives begin to bear more fruit.  We become stronger and we don't wither.  Whatever we do prospers and the greatest part of all of this is that we point to God.  He is glorified in our lives and HE is the reason we can thrive.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Best Day

Dear Kourtney, Maggie and Jacklyn,
Do you have any idea how much I love being your mother?  I cherish these days with you more than you'll ever understand.  Today was a little rough.  We got through our school work.....finally.  It was a day filled with deep conversations, plenty of tears, a splash of laughter and a truck load of love.  You girls (Kourtney and Maggie) are very aware of some of the hardships our loved ones are facing right now.  It kills me to see how badly this hurts you.  I love the amazing hearts of love and compassion you have for others.  You are so beautiful.
I heard this song today and couldn't help shedding a few tears.  I don't know what you'll say about your childhood when you're all grown up.  But I sure hope that you know how dearly, dearly loved you are.  You girls are everything to your Daddy and me.  We are so honored to get to be your parents and we really love who you are growing up to be.  If I could spend a day with anyone, I'd choose you girls.  I adore you!
Here are the Lyrics:
The Best Day by Taylor Swift

I'm five years old, it's getting cold, I've got my big coat on

I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run

Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold

I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home.

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall

But I know you're not scared of anything at all

Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away

But I know I had the best day with you today.

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean

I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys

And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away

And we talk and window shop 'til I've forgotten all their names.

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school

But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you

Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay

But I know I had the best day with you today.

I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger

God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he's better than I am

I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run

And I had the best days with you.

There is a video I found from back when I was three

You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me

It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs

And Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world.

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall

I know you were on my side even when I was wrong

And I love you for giving me your eyes

For staying back and watching me shine

And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say

That I had the best day with you today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Me and May

In the movie, The Secret Life of Bees, I felt oddly connected to one character in particular.
The character is May Boatwright.  She is the sister of August and June Boatwright. She has a very childish nature and maybe a bit of a mental illness.  Those are not the things that made me feel connected to her, by the way.
She is highly sensitive to the pain of others and the world in general, she carries the weight of the world in her soul.

That's where I feel similar to May.
There have been so many sad things going on around me. So much so that I haven't even taken the time to blog.  (Have you noticed?)  I have been heartbroken over the destruction of several marriages....each one involving precious kids.  I have seen people make really bad decisions and not take into account the huge effect it will have on those around them.  I have been overwhelmed and heavy-hearted. 
Unlike May Boatwright, I refuse to allow my heaviness to consume me.
In church this past Sunday, our dear elder pastor, Ed Kopper, prayed a very familiar and comforting verse.  My heart has been lifted as I am reminded of the promise of Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory."
I guess I've only considered that verse when I've been stressed out financially.  Don't get me wrong, I need to remember it then as well.  SO thankful He takes care of our monetary needs!
However, this time I am comforted as I read that verse, realizing that each precious child involved in these torn apart homes, each heart-broken spouse....even all the other family members and friends that are feeling the pain of these circumstances.....will ALL be taken care of - according to His riches in glory.
What great confidence we have in Him!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New Adventure!'s been a few months since I've blogged!  Yikes.
I have had all sorts of things come up.
End of the school year, a dear friend's illness, my daughters' swim schedule....just to name a few.
I have just read Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity.
It is so fantastic.  I have been through so many of her Bible studies.  I, like most women who do those studies, feel like Beth is a close personal friend. 
Let me tell you, it is even more the case when reading this book.
The truth and humor of it all is a perfect blend.
Run.  Don't walk.  Go get your hands on that book!
You may not struggle with insecurity.
Well, come on, who doesn't?!
But, it is well worth the read!!
Make sure to check out her blog, too. It's so fun!
The two verses that have meant so much to me are these:
Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed with strength and dignity
She can laugh at the days to come.
Psalm 112:7-8
(S)he will have no fear of bad news;
(her) heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
(Her) heart is secure, (s)he will have no fear;
in the end (s)he will look in triumph on (her) foes.
Great verses to have memorized and "on file" at all times in my mind!
About 8 years ago, I was faced with the decision of what to do with my oldest daughter's education.  She would be starting school, at that time it was preschool, and I had no idea what to do.
I had taught preschool for 3 years before giving birth to her, but I was still a bit nervous.  As it turned out, God placed me smack dab in the middle of a TON of homeschool families when we moved down here to the Central Coast.  It seemed like EVERYONE homeschooled their kids.
I, however, had said that I admired homeschooling but thought I would never, ever have what it takes to do it! Too great of a responsibility.  Too much at stake.  After all, I had only completed some college.  I wasn't smart enough.
Well, as God would have it, I prayed and prayed and decided to homeschool.  At first it was just going to be preschool and maybe Kindergarten.  I mean, how hard could it be?  Kindergarten is just one step up from preschool.
So, the homeschool journey began. 
I walked in LOTS of fear and trepidation.  I was extremely insecure and convinced that I was probably messing up my daughter's education.  I was so intense and if it hadn't been for the wonderful love of learning that God instilled in Kourtney, I would've squashed every single bit of possibility for the kid to succeed.  I pushed waaaaay too hard!
By first grade, I was ready to quit.  I prayed and prayed and felt like God was calling me to keep up with homeschooling.
Okay, well, how much harder can first grade be than kindergarten?
And so it went...Me wanting to quit, God calling me to keep going.
LONG story short, here we are....all these years later.  I have homeschooled all along.  Kourtney will be a 7th grader and Maggie will be in 5th.  Jacklyn is almost 3 and participates in her own (distracting) way as much as she can. :)  This past Monday night, I accepted the role of Director for our homeschool group.  I do not feel any more "qualified" now than I did 8 years ago when I started this journey of homeschooling.  I do, however, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is able to equip me.  I keep checking in with myself.....I should be scared to death (I've certainly had those moments!), I should be cowering in insecurity....but, the truth is, I know God's track record and I'm excited to see what He has in store!
So Long, Insecurity!  You've Been a Bad Friend to Me!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

open door

Apparently, we have an open door policy here at our house.
I wish I were referring to the warm hospitality, drop-in-any-time front door kind of open door.
I'm talking about the bathroom.
Whenever that door is closed, it is an invitation for little Miss 2-year-old to barge right on in.
I cannot remember the last time I showered in peace.
As soon as that water goes on, she bursts through the door.
She'll come in to talk to me, to sing to me, to whine or cry to me.
It's not limited to shower time, either....unfortunately!!
Something about that door being closed is more than she can handle.
Somehow, I'm unavailable to her and she can't stand it.
So, why not lock it, you ask?
Well, we've only got one bathroom in the home.
We also have a 2 year old who is SLOWLY potty training.
You never know what may happen if she doesn't have access.
So, as I'm about to leave the computer to go shower,
I'm hoping, but not expecting, a peaceful shower experience.
One day I'll miss these days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

no power

The greatest thing happened on Sunday.
Okay, not the greatest, but it was good.
Our power was out from around 1:00 AM until about 11:00 AM.
It was so quiet and peaceful.
No noisy hum of the computer or the fridge.
The girls found interesting things to do...
Drawing, writing, playing board games....
I was able to do some cooking.
We have a gas stove and I just lit the burners with a match.
We had a fantastic morning and were slightly bummed when the power returned.
Strange to say, but I felt so alive and so present after that morning!
I spend way too much time on the computer.
I really want to change that.
I'm grateful for the gift of electricity,
But I'm also grateful for the gift of a morning without it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

best blog on the block

My dear friend Lori has just started blogging.  I'm so excited about this because she has an incredible journey to share!  Her writing is captivating and will absolutely inspire and encourage you!  Check her out here as she shares about Kids, Cancer, Chaos: Loving My Life.
You will be glad you did!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

destiny's shore

It was such a beautiful, warm, sunny day down in southern California. I was 12 years old and fearless. My family was spending the day at Huntington Beach and everything was right in our world.

Mom and my sister Jenny were content to soak in the rays on the beach. My dad, my sister Michelle and I were ready for adventure. We darted out to the ocean for some serious body surfing. The waves were amazing and we had plans to take full advantage of them.

Well, Michelle, Dad and I had a surprise coming our way. We body surfed for hours. I’m pretty sure it was Dad who suggested that we head back to shore. We could kind of remember where Jenny and Mom were, so we started to swim back in that direction. To be quite honest with you, the rest of the day is a little bit of a blur to me.

I remember being very tired. I remember how strong the waves were and I clearly remember bobbing up and down in the water, trying to get a breath. I can still see the blurry brownish water when I think about that day. I can still taste the salt and feel my dad’s arm trying to hold me up as he swam.

My sister and dad were exhausted. At one point, my dad was afraid I was drowning. He tried to see how deep the water was and realized that he could not touch the bottom. He began to panic. He told us to swim harder. In that moment, seeing Dad panic, Michelle called out with all of her strength, “JESUS! Help us!”

Instantly there were 2 lifeguards at our side. Instantly. I remember the red floaty thing that I held onto as they dragged us back to shore. I remember being on the sand very, very far away from where Jenny and my mom were waiting. I will also never forget their word of instruction to us: “If you ever get drug out by a strong undercurrent again, just relax. Allow yourself to float and eventually the ocean will carry you back to shore. It may be much farther down the beach than you started out, but as long as you try to fight the current, you will get nowhere but exhausted.”

Somehow that story is quite an object lesson for me about life and plans. I can think of several times in my life where I stood on the shore and had my own great plans all mapped out. I looked into the distance and thought I knew exactly how things would pan out, only to find myself flailing and trying to catch my breath. There have been times when things have seemed utterly out of control. Times when I had no idea if I’d even make it. There have been other times that may not have seemed quite so bleak, but definitely not the way I had planned them.

I am going to try really hard to hold onto the words of those wise lifeguards and apply a spiritual twist to it. God has a plan for our lives. We can go along for the ride, knowing that it will be an exciting adventure and TRUST HIM to get us safely to the “shore” He has destined for us…..or we can try to fight him all of the way, arguing that it’s too hard for us or that this isn’t the “right” way. If we do that, we can count on the fact that we will get nowhere but exhausted!

I’m really hoping that I can remember this in the midst of the waves of life…not just after a rough set. Our God is so loving and trustworthy….I can’t wait to see what part of the shore he has planned for me to land on.

Friday, March 12, 2010

turn around

Well, you just gotta love me.
Today, I awoke with fresh inspiration.
I've been anxious about life.
Am I doing things right now?
(See previous post)
Will my sweet 12 year old turn into a monster when she's a full-fledged teenager?
(Like her mother did?)
Will my lack of experience kill me as I forge ahead in my homeschooling endeavors?
My brain has been filled with tons and tons of "What ifs."
This morning, however, reality hit me.
The good kind.
I looked at my little 2 year old and melted.
She will only be 2 years, 9 months for this little period of time.
She is too much!  Such a handful and yet so very, very adorable!!
I want to squish her, I love her so much!
My 10 year old is darling!

Ever-changing, funny and so full of life!
She is independant, thoughtful and brave and challenges me to dream bigger.
I want to live in the moment and savor her.
My 12 year old is such a gift.

She is very sensitive, careful and kind.
Her wisdom surpasses my own on many levels and I admire her.
I can waste my days by worrying about our future,
or I can stop, breathe in TODAY and smile.
That's what I'm choosing today.
Why is it that making that decision is so tough sometimes?
Of course that's what I always want to do.....but I get consumed.
I often say that there is a fine line between faith and denial for me.
I believe things will turn out good.
Surveying past history, I could even say they'll turn out pretty fantastic!
I also know that life is filled with trouble, hardship and change. 
That eventually translates into growth.
Growth is good.
So....for today, I'll savor the moment.
I'll do my best to stop worrying.
I have learned that it really doesn't do much good anyway.
I am SO grateful for my precious today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

you're doing it wrong!

What a mixed bag the blog world can be.
I can read one blog and feel so inspired, moved and ready to take on the world.
I can read another blog and feel like I'm just not getting it.
Like I'm doing everything wrong.
I just read a wonderful post about a mom who is reading through For The Children's Sake.
Sounds like SUCH a wonderful read!
Yet, I'll confess that the thought of it overwhelms me.
The book talks about how children need plenty of unrushed, unorganized playtime to explore, create, move, and imagine.
Gosh, I couldn't agree more.
However, there's a line from the movie Mr. Mom that keeps ringing in my head.
The line?
"You're doing it wrong!"
My girls are wonderful kids.
They impress and inspire me.
I love who they are.
I guess the feelings I'm getting are not from the data (my kids) in front of me, more from my own fears.
They are on a pretty tight schedule.
They wouldn't complain, I'm sure....but reading about unorganized playtime to explore, create, move and imagine causes me to want to give them more of that.
Oh, if only we could schedule that in. :)
Those are my thoughts for the moment.
Something to think about.
Something to work on....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

...but who's counting?...

My darling Maggie drew this yesterday.....
Gotta love it!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Wow, it's already March!
How did that happen?!
February is a wonderful month here in our home.
Maggie turned 10 on February 6th.
Kourtney turned 12 on the 26th.
We love to celebrate all month long.
Valentine's day is just a fun holiday right smack in the middle of the birthdays for us.
This year, Maggie went to school with her daddy for her birthday.
He is a 4th grade teacher and she just happens to be a 4th grader herself.
She loved the day and had a fantastic time feeling like a "real" student rather than just a homeschooler. :)
Kourtney is so easy. She just wanted to do a little shopping on her birthday. We drove over to Gilroy, got her a great pair of boots (Ugg style, but not that brand), she spent a few of her birthday bucks in Old Navy, we grabbed Subway for lunch and headed home. She was as happy as could be.
She also wanted to swim that afternoon.
Swimming is a huge part of our life. They had a swim meet this weekend and both of them did great.
Kourtney has set some goals that she'd love to meet and came pretty darn close to one of them!
Maggie had fun hanging with friends. She swam great, but didn't care too much about her times.
Overall, February was a fun month for us...I just can't believe it's gone already.
My girls' birthdays have often brought me to a nostalgic place in previous years...but this year, I can honestly say I'm just really, really enjoying them. I love who they are and look forward to who they'll be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

funny. real funny.

This week, my girls are memorizing Psalm 73:28.
It's a great verse.
"But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds."
Today, Kourtney said the verse and I asked her what the reference was.
She couldn't remember, so I asked if she wanted a hint.
Me: "Okay.....Psalm...the year I was born..."
Kourt: "Psalm 73....uh...."
Me: "The age I look"
Kourt: "48?"
Me: "You're grounded!!!"
Guess I set myself up for that one.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

my funny memories

My daughters always like me to tell them funny stories of things they did or said when they were little. It's fun to recall the moments and my girls get a good chuckle. I thought I'd post a couple on here that we've recently discussed.
My now ALMOST 12 year old....was just as sensitive as they come!
Before having her, I worked as a preschool teacher.
I was so excited when she turned about 2 or 2 and a half. I thought about how great it would be to sit and have "circle time" and sing fun songs together.
One day, I started singing, "On Top of Spaghetti."
BIG mistake.
She was fine at first, "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese." But, it took a turn for the worse when, "I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed."
Crying began at, "It rolled off the table and onto the floor."
And full on sobbing when, "....and then my poor meatball rolled right out the door."
You can only imagine how hard it was for me, after overcoming my shock at her tears, not to burst out laughing! Poor kid really felt sorry for that poor meatball!!
We never did get to finish the song.
Probably for the has a pretty sad ending.
Remember, it rolls "into the garden and under a bush....and then my poor meatball was nothing but mush."
I'm positive she could NOT have handled that!
What a tender little heart that girl had!
She still does....but, living with her sarcastic, joking parents....she's toughened up a little.
Next, we have one of our classic Maggie stories.
Oh Miss Maggie Pie! Such a lovely almost 10-year-old.
She was the easiest baby I ever had!
And then she turned 2!
She looked like a little angel. Blond, silky hair, great big green eyes....and the most scratchy, gruff voice you ever heard.
What great growth and character development took place in me, thanks to that girl!
One funny memory I have of her was at a time when she was mad.
Not just mad, but furious!
We were in a store and she wanted something (can't remember what)and her daddy said, "No."
That was not cool as far as she was concerned and she was going to let him know, in no uncertain terms, how she felt about it.
She threw a great big fit.
We decided that wasn't going to happen in the store and we left.
The shock of us leaving the store caused her to fall silent for a minute.
Then, in anger, she looked at her daddy and said, "You're a circle head!"
Boy, was she mad!
It took everything in us not to laugh....but instead, to discipline.
Last, but not least is Miss Jacklyn.
Our current 2 year old.
Something about that age, huh?
She keeps us on our toes all the time.
There's not a shy bone in her body.
Just last week, there was this precious older man in the grocery store.
He was a little hunched over, he wore a cowboy hat and some brightly-colored suspenders.
He saw Jacklyn looking at him and his face brightened.
He waved at her and said, "Hi!"
As CLEAR AS DAY, my sweet, charming, friendly little angel said,
"Mommy, he is a funny looking guy!"
I can't even tell you how I reacted.
I don't remember. I just know I was mortified and down another aisle faster than lightning.
I am so happy that I've been blessed with these 3....very unique and very wonderful girls!! They are such a joy!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

our daily walk

This is the little trail we walk down
My older 2 daughters have a job. They walk Rooney, this adorable puppy, and get paid for it!

It's perfect, really. We have our own pooch, too. Gracie. She delights greatly in the daily walks and having the responsibility of walking Rooney just ensures that Gracie will get some exercise as well.
Recently, another friend has joined us on our walks. Just thought you might want to see who it is. He goes, affectionately, by the name of "Oooh Oooh."

Life is fun.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

back to life....back to reality

We will start school back up tomorrow after 2 glorious weeks off...and one week, prior to vacation, that really shouldn't count as school. Mostly pre-Christmas stuff. I know a certain 4th grade teacher, however, who also did lots of pre-Christmas stuff before break....and it counts. So, we will count it, too.
Every day of school that we do now makes our summer vacation come even sooner. That's what I tell my girls. And that's what I have to tell myself on days when I'm just not feelin' it.
Hopefully my little welcome sign (shown above) will help morale tomorrow. Kourtney is eager to get back into a routine. Maggie rolls her eyes at the thought of school. Or structure. I think I'm somewhere in between.
I don't have a list of 2010 goals. Not yet anyway. I do think I'll have the girls sit down and think about this. Maybe even write something down. Maybe not. We'll see.
However, one thing I'd like to try to implement in this new year is better planning. I'd love to remember that we eat dinner every single night when we get home from swim practice and actually think ahead to have something waiting. Crockpot recipes would be a great idea! Or at least some sort of dinner in mind.
I also think I'm going to try to do my lesson plans over the weekend prior to school starting. Heck, I could even be crazy and try to get them done on Friday the aforementioned 4th grade teacher does! That may be too crazy for me. We'll see.
All I know is that doing my lesson plans on Monday morning, when school is well underway is NOT how I want to finish off this school year. I've even been know to write them up on Wednesday. I look back in their books to see what the girls have already done and THEN write it down. These lesson plans are purely for my own peace of mind. I don't turn them into anyone. Nobody else ever even needs to see them. Unless, of course, one of my darlings wants to work ahead.....she can peek in the lesson plan book and see what I'd like her to do next.
Anyway, all that to say, I hope to be a teensy bit more organized. And I really hope I don't lose my mind on our first day back to reality. I'll let you know how it goes. I better go start those lesson plans now.
Over and out.