Happy Birthday, Mom

If you’ve read my Dear Mom post, you know I haven’t spoken to her in over five years.

Today is her birthday.  I’m not a big fan of mushy, gooey greeting cards saying things we don’t mean in a flowery poem.  I always try to be honest even when I choose a card.  I try to be true to the realities of the relationship.*

So, I have no flowery poem or gooey mush.

I am thankful that she gave me life.  My life is good in spite of, and because of, its scars.  I am thankful that I can share my story.  I am thankful mom can have a good relationship with my youngest brother and his family.

I can say, in all honesty, I wish her a blessed day today.

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*So it goes without saying that if you ever get a card from me, it will be real and not mushy.

5 little reminders for those hard homeschool days

(I have a soft spot in my heart for homeschooling moms because I am one of them.  If you, dear reader, are not a homeschooling mom I hope you can still find some encouragement in this post.  It is specifically for those who have the privilege of home educating their kids, but we all can feel overwhelmed at the beginning of a new school year.)

School’s been in session what, about five weeks now?  Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, you’ve probably noticed long before today that teaching kids from home is hard work.  Rewarding, yes, but very time consuming.  It is a full time job on top of all the “regular” work that goes into running a home & family.  So, ever so humbly, I’m offering some reminders, homeschooling mom.

1. BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT, REPEAT….REPEAT AGAIN…AND AGAIN

I discount how much good a nice deep breath can do for me.  Whether I’m fretting about getting started on time, worrying about what I will make for dinner since I forgot to get something out of the freezer or struggling to explain the concept of addition.  Deep breathing takes the focus away from the task at hand and allows the brain and muscles to relax.  Deep breathing takes thought and effort.  I actually discovered this when I had Pertussis several years ago.  With whooping cough, you consciously have to make yourself take a breath in the middle of a coughing spasm. It’s much the same in the midst of a hectic day.  You must make yourself breathe.

2.  Be present

Each day brings it’s own set of circumstances – joys and hardships.  Don’t borrow either one from yesterday or tomorrow.  Experience this joy (peanut butter hugs) now.  Experience this hardship (clogged toilet) now.  Then, turn the joys into memories and forget the toilet.  Notice your miracles.

Days Pass, Years Vanish. And we walk sightless among miracles. – Jewish Proverb

3.  Remember who you are

You are a child of God, holy and dearly loved.  He holds you together.  There is no other who can.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17 (NASB)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

4.  Remember why

Take out that little piece of paper with your “Why We Homeschool” mission statement on it and read it again.  Modify it if needed.  It is a living, breathing document, even if it’s on a coffee stained post-it note.  If you have never done this little exercise, I can’t stress how important that paragraph can be on hard days.  I keep mine taped inside the front of my binder. Here’s a link to help you easily make one:

Mission Statement #1

Here’s another example (this one reads more like a constitution than a simple mission statement, but it’s good):

Mission Statement #2

5. This too shall pass

Today will be gone tomorrow.  Ha!  Like that?  Good, bad, ugly, horrible, overwhelming, relaxing…whatever.  Today will be yesterday tomorrow.  When I think of how long a day is feeling I try to remember this post from Tsh at Simple Mom.

Homeschooling is hard work.  Mothering is hard work.  Wifeing (is that a word?) is really hard work.  Cut yourself a break.  Give yourself some grace.  You’re doing great!

Hug your babies.

Hug your man, maybe even throw in a kiss.

Order Pizza, with extra cheese 🙂

Read a poem: Knowing

Be blessed!

Sixteen Years…so much more than Awesome God

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There’s someone I really want to meet in Heaven.  This week marks the 16th anniversary of his death and I will cry even though the loss wasn’t personal to me, yet it was.  It was so very deeply and painfully personal.

One September 19, 1997, Rich Mullins left this earth.  Most artists I listened to as a teen and young adult are memories.  Memories that take me back to that time and I laugh as I remember: big hair, stirrup pants, bulky sweaters, lots of eyeliner.  But Rich…Rich is here and now.  His songs are not memories.  His songs are life – real, hard, dirty and glorious.  What can I possibly write about this poet?  This man who captured so much of Jesus in his songs and life?  I have always felt partial to Rich.  I met him once, when he opened for Amy Grant on her Unguarded tour.  The barefoot singer.  He was an anomaly.  He was humble.  He was real.  I was too stargazed with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith to notice him too much.  I wish I still had the photograph…

Rich was us, all of us.  His songs are woven into the fabric of my life.  I still learn from them.  There are phrases I’ve been singing for decades and just now discover anew!

Do yourself a favor.  Listen to his songs.  Buy the last studio CD he made – “Songs” by Rich Mullins.  It’s a compilation of some of his best.  He went into the studio and re-recorded four songs including his favorite, Elijah.  After you’ve listened to that go ahead and listen to the Jesus Record.  Listen to the rough recording.  The one he made in a little mid-west church on a tape recorder from Walmart 10 days before he was killed.  Ten songs about Jesus.

I have a hard shell but these songs, these words, touch a part deep inside me and I weep.  Yet, at the same time they breathe life into my soul

I know he doesn’t miss life on earth. How could he?  But I miss him along with many, many others.  Rich once said that it bothered him that people could quote his lyrics better than they could quote scripture.  His voice, echoing through the years via YouTube, has spurred me on to memorize more of Jesus’ words.  Words spoken by Life Itself to us.

Well, it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And they say that one day Joshua
Made the sun stand still in the sky
But I can’t even keep these thoughts
Of you from passing by
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail
We are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And if you make me laugh I know
I could make you like me
Cause when I laugh I can be a lot of fun
But we can’t do that I know that it is frightening
What I don’t know is why we can’t hold on
We can’t hold on

When you love you walk on the water
Just don’t stumble on the waves
We all want to go there somethin’ awful
But to stand there it takes some grace
‘Cause oh, we are not as strong
As we think we are

Some links:

Wikipedia – Rich Mullins

We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are

Elijah

If I Stand

Screen Door

Let Mercy Lead

And the trailer for the upcoming film about his life:

Ragamuffin – The Movie

Dear Me

(This is the third in a series of three letters.  Two to my parents and one to myself.  You can find the links to the other two letters at the bottom of this post.)

Remember this:  You are not your mother.

The one thing you learned from your mother is how to not be a wife or mother.  Are you listening?  You are not your mother.

This is not the issue I want to address with you, however.  I want to address your friendships and how they have suffered over the years as you’ve tried to make sense of your life.  I want to talk about how you have always found someone to be the stand in for your Mom.  STOP IT!!

There are friendships now lost to you because you couldn’t let go of the hurt and pain inflicted by her.  There is a friendship now, right now in 2013, that has disintegrated because of your distrust and because you were hurt and the walls went up.  There will always be someone in your life who reminds you of your Mom.  Someone who makes a comment that sounds like her, gives a look like her, or acts like her.  You must figure out how to allow these people into your life in some measure and not start a kerfluffle with them.  They are not Mom!

Is the relationship worth your time and energy?  Probably not, but you can learn to live with that, and them.  You can learn to be acquainted, but not close.  You can learn to be distant, but not combative.  You know those bumper stickers with all the religious symbols telling us to “coexist”?  You must learn to do that with those “people” in your life.  The ones who are so like Mom they make you bristle all over and want to find a closet to hide in.  Remember the times you hid in your closet?  You don’t have to anymore.  They are them, you are you.

You are flawed but you are fearfully and wonderfully made even when you find it hard to believe most days.

“There’s people been friendly, but they’d never be your friend” –  from Elijah.  Remember that.  Find the ones who will be a friend and treat them as the treasure they are. I can name a few & God whispers their names in the moments you need to hear them.  Listen and remember.

Dear Mom

Dear Dad

Bookshelf – The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo

I know it’s a national best seller.

That’s why I picked it up at the library.  I was curious about it.

I didn’t finish it.  I got to about page 120.  It was sooo…….. slow.  I have nothing to offer.  If you’ve read it – congratulations!  If you didn’t and want to, be prepared to wait a long time before it gets interesting or becomes cohesive.  I didn’t even get that far.  I was so bored I fell asleep every time I tried to read it.  If you’re ambivalent, don’t bother.  Pick something else.  That’s the best advice I can give.

I suspect it became a best seller because he died shortly after submitting the three manuscripts.  After all, they were published posthumously so it must be really, really good, right?  Um….no.

Maybe there was something lost in the translation.  I think I’d rather read The Odyssey in the original language.

I forgot to add a picture.  I suppose I can’t be bothered.