My Mom’s voice gets stuck in my head

In the shower this morning, my mom’s voice got stuck in my head. I’m not sure how I transitioned from shaving my legs to sitting near her knee, but I was there. Her nylon string acoustic guitar resting on her thigh, and a group of us around singing “If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings…” She had a way of singing the end of the chorus and thumping twice on the hollow body of the guitar.

Last Sunday in church, my mom and dad sang with me in church… even though they are 1154.3 miles away. I started singing the final hymn with the good and friendly folk at St. Giles. But about halfway through my parents voices filled my ears. My Dad’s tenor, my mom’s … she can sing a big range and she would pick what she was in the mood for – soprano or alto. They both would sometimes sing melody and other times harmony – always perfectly, always clear, always like they meant what they were singing.

A few days ago, I heard my girls laughing in their bedroom. And then  I heard my sister join in the laughter. And my brother. Only it was my one daughter who sounds so much like Lisa that I was really hearing. But for a minute I was many years and many miles away with their voices.

This is my Cloud of Witnesses. Or part of it anyway.

A kitchen meltdown….

(Harvesting Blog Drafts – This post was started on the first week of September 2014. Much of it could have been written this year. I suspect I am not alone.)

A few Saturday’s ago, I woke up and wanted a treat for breakfast. Normally, we have a grab’n’go breakfast at our home. If we have a prepared by mom breakfast, it is served at supper time.

We had completed our first week of school, and I wanted to do something special. So I got up and began making waffles.

As I stood there, with the first wafts of waffle-y goodness filling the kitchen, the voices started muttering.

I had done a full grocery trip the day before. I had preceded the grocery trip with a menu plan. When I got home, I put things carefully away in an organized manner. Winning.

When I went through the cupboards for waffle supplies, I found that I had missed some of our major staple items.

The only thing I dislike more than shopping (especially grocery shopping) is finding out I have messed up.

I get all panicky about budgets (and other things that I might fail at). I feel like it reflects on me as a mother and wife if the kitchen stuff isn’t wonderful, healthy, creative, and fun.

So as I’m making waffles at 7 in the morning on a Saturday, all these condemning apparitions circled around me chorusing about my failure.

And then I tuned in to what I was thinking/hearing.

And I began to point out a few things to those complaints.

I pointed out that I was making waffles at 7am on a Saturday (are there enough bonus points in the motherhood game for this?!?).

I pointed out that we had just completed our first full week of homeschool using a million new systems and a number of new resources and nobody was killed or harmed in the making of that homeschool week (again – how many bonus points?!?).

And I pointed out that the sum of my mothering and wife-ing is NOT measured in the kitchen.

This is know. This I have taken great comfort in over the years. Yet it is the first place that the lies of the Enemy get louder and louder as I walk this walk out.

It begs the question – what am I measuring myself against?

If I take my eyes off of my important things and put them onto the secondary things (which are still important, but not most important), what and who benefits?

Living from Regrets

Ever since the kids began to be involved with other groups of youth for activities, it has been easier to align our calendar with the public school calendar. Sometimes it is fun to be on vacation when public school is in session, but it usually still means that we are trucking the kids around, so it is a ‘sort of break’ at best. So for the most part, we just shut down when public schools shut down.

Two weeks ago, it was Greenville County Schools spring vacation. It was also ours. The boys went on a massive road trip. The girls unplugged and and played and rested. When it was time for that week to come to a close we decided that the one week hadn’t been enough. So we opted, as a family, to take a second week of vacation.

The girls and I had taken a lunch date many weeks before and brainstormed all that we hoped to do during our vacation. We didn’t complete nearly all that we had put on our list. It’s amazing how optimistic list-making can feel. So as we headed into our second week, I encouraged the girls and myself to revisit the list. “Let’s look at what we regret, and make choices for this next week based on that.”

Individually, we did that. We carried our regrets, and decided which would be compass points for our ‘bonus’ week. For me, that included some much needed desk time, some reading time, some internal evaluation and planning. For the girls it was some studying, some playing, some kitchen projects.

I am really growing to a place where I appreciate the feedback that disappointments and regrets can give. The message we often hear is to live looking forward, and to not allow the negative feelings to come along of the ride. But just because they aren’t happy feelings doesn’t mean they are negative. Some of the things on our lists were silly, frivolous, unnecessary. Some of our things were important, and we were going to be in a better place to do them because of the rest we had experienced in week one. Because we took the time to revisit each thing, we could make that value decision.

Previously, I would have just had a dull awareness that I hadn’t completed the list. It would have been a regret filled with dread, and the self-message ‘you stink at follow-through’. But we took ownership of the dread and met it with Grace. We were in charge of the list.

We hear about goal-setting and knowing that planes have to make a million mid-course corrections as they speed to their next port. But I think I’m living more of a row-boat paced life these days… pulling the oars, looking at where I have been, and looking over my shoulder every once in awhile to set my sights on where I am headed. I might not be getting to my next port as quickly as a plane (and my hands might really hurt from the blisters some days), but I think I might be onto something sacred as I honor the behind as I make my forward movement.

Five Minute Friday – Joy

  I spent a season a few years ago taking the weekly challenge to write for five minutes in response to a word. Somehow stumbled across the #fiveminutefriday challenge this past week and decided “Sure, I’ll give it a go.” Want to join me? You will find all the information here:

And now, the word this week: Joy!

I went to the mall looking for joy this morning. Well, I went to the mall looking for some presents that have been alluding me. And when I saw that the word for today at #FMF was Joy (and had no immediate idea of where to go with it), I decided I would look for Joy at the mall.

What first caught my eye was a poster of snowmen with a big stylistic Joy written in glittery, italic font. In a moment of observation, I found myself thinking “I don’t ever remember seeing a Christmas Card or poster or advertisement that included a Nativity scene and the word Joy. I’ve seen stars, trees, angels, Santa, globes …. But never that quiet, little, messy scene of birth.

How ironic, I thought. But how revealing. I would most like joy to feel like a surge of positive emotion. I would like it to be reflected in a tidy, festively decorated home (for whichever holiday). I would like it be found in harmonious relationships and everyone holding hands.


But joy, real Joy, sometimes gets it’s start in the messy, hidden miracles in our lives.

Summer Questions, 2016

Falls ParkWe are at the beginning of the  fourth week of summer here in SC, even though it just turned summer today. Our first two weeks were spent travelling, and last week was recovering. Now, we are looking at eight weeks until public school starts. Whether homeschool will start that week or not is yet to be decided, but the kids are involved in activities that follow the public school schedule, so life will be changing gears at that time.

The kids are signed up for camps and we have lists of concerts, outings, and other fun things we want to do. But after the pace of this last year with a move to SC and amazing and full school opportunities, the summer feels like a wide open space.

Which is restful… until it gets ‘boring’, and we start building ruts that don’t reflect what is important to us or who we are becoming.

The bliss of having older kids (there are many blisses) is that I can brainstorm some questions (that I need to answer myself) and let them do the work of figuring out how to steward their summer. This lines up perfectly with our goal of raising independent learners and leaders.

The kids (and Marc and I) will be expected to make time this week to sit with and journal through these questions. They may share their work or they may keep it private (except for the meals that they will learn).