The Trade-Off

This weekend I experienced euphoria that I haven’t known in a while. I was able to write. Yes, I write and blog every week. But this was my passion … writing a script. And actually, it was a rewrite – harder work, but more exciting because it can mean there’s enough interest to warrant a rewrite. Woohoo! I desperately needed this nudge, this incentive, to stay focused on my passion.

Afterall, since July my focus has basically been schooling my sons. And I’m loving it. We’re having a blast. But in the midst of the trade-off of time devoted to homeschool and all it entails (and it’s a lot! Lol), I forgot one very basic component that needs attention. Me. 

So here’s to the happy trade-off … I’ll gladly cast aside laser-focus on my career, certain things I love, even parts of who I am, in the name of sacrificing for my children. The only thing I ask is that I don’t lose sight of me, who I am and what I love to do.

:) :)

We Remember . . .

September Blog - September 11

I remember vividly what I was doing that day.
I was at work, and heard on the radio about the attacks on the twin towers.
I initially thought there was no way it could be real, like the War of the Worlds broadcast.
But it was. Very real.
I watched people jump for their lives … to their deaths.
I wept with countless Americans … over the tragic loss of life … over the senseless cruelty of it all.
I cried out to God to heal our land … and our people.
I watched a nation come together on one accord, to help the hurting. To comfort. To support.
September 11, 2001 left an indelible imprint on me, on our nation, on the world.
May we honor the memory of those who lost their lives, and continue to pray for their families.

We remember…

More Than A Wing and A Prayer . . .

September Blog - Truett Cathy

He didn’t invent the chicken … just the chicken sandwich. I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Truett Cathy. Our family loves Chick Fil A and Truett’s Pizza Cafe. The food is delicious; however, it’s much more than the food that keeps us going back. It’s the true legacy left by Mr. Cathy.

As a reflect on the reasons why his establishments prospered, they extend far beyond good quality food and a great deal. As indicated by the photo above, Mr. Cathy’s priorities were in order. And because he knew the intrinsic value of focusing on the things that truly matter, he was able to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Here are a few of the things I take from his life … and his legacy.

1. Putting God first. His restaurants are not open on Sundays, yet they are highly profitable. Mr. Cathy chose to put his convictions and desire to honor God before money. We can all learn a lesson from this. God and family are more important than profits.

2. Service. Whenever we visit one of his restaurants, we are greeted warmly. Every service requested brings forth a response of “my pleasure.” There is not enough space to speak about the help rendered to my family and I above and beyond the call of duty. I could mention the time that my son held a fundraiser to benefit foster children, and Truett’s Pizza Cafe opened their doors and hearts to help. Or I could talk about requesting assistance from Chick Fil A for another event and being given an enormous amount of gifts and meal cards to pass out to others. A lot of commercial “service” now is focused on the bottom line, making a dollar and getting the product in as many hands as possible. His bottom line was serving people.

3. Quality. As a mom I am very careful about what I let my children eat. We don’t eat out a lot. However, when we do, it is at a Truett Cathy establishment. The quality of the food, and the taste, speak for themselves. It is possible to provide a quality product that benefits others … and you still profit.

My prayers are with the Cathy family members as well as his extended restaurant family. Thank you, Mr. Cathy, for your vision and for showing Chick Fil A was about more than just a wing and a prayer.

Give It Up, Turn It Loose ….

When does an opportunity become a burden?

I was wrestling with myself over this question. I’d been given an opportunity that seemed perfect for me … doing what I love, writing, for an organization whose interests are perfectly in line with my own. I really enjoyed it … the topics, the interviews, the work itself. And plus I got paid to do it. For the moment, life didn’t get any better on that front.

Then … the pace slowed down. My calls weren’t being returned. They weren’t answering emails. It was disappointing and frustrating. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done. It was something I wanted to do, and in some respects needed to do. But the consistency had vanished, and confusion had entered in. And I was stuck.

This “opportunity” was causing me stress, anxiety, I wasn’t being respected, and even getting paid was becoming an issue. I was sad … I didn’t want to let go, but had to. It had, in essence, become a burden.

Time to turn it loose ….

Four Weeks Inside Our Four Walls ….

September Blog - Homeschool 2

At four weeks into homeschooling my son, I’m an expert. LOLOL. Even I couldn’t say that one with a straight face. Truly, even once I have more time under my belt and more experience, I don’t know if I’ll be able to consider myself an “expert”. There is just SO much information out there, it’s incredible. However, what I can share are the few things I’ve learned in this short time:

1. Relax This goes for both me (teacher) and my son. Initially, it’s so exciting to have a blank canvas to paint with curriculum, interests and experiments … all catered just for you. But with great freedom, comes great responsibility. I mean that to say, we can’t do everything. I had three languages on tap as well as typing, guitar and a few other extras. Not that we can’t still do all of those, and maybe even at the same time. But we’re just starting out. So not now. For now, relax.

2. We can actually use the flexibility we’re given. Okay, so the first day we were out at the library a little later than planned, I panicked. Not major, full-on, stressed panic, but a substantially scaled down version. However, the stress was still there. And many experienced homeschool moms may laugh, but I got home and realized, we can just push everything back a half an hour, and finish something tomorrow. And that will be okay. And then I got even more brazen and realized, it’s gorgeous outside and not as hot in the morning, so we can go to the park and then come home and do school. And that’s okay. Baby steps for me. Flexibility is definitely a good thing.

3. You really can learn doing housework. I joked about this previously, if not somewhat skeptically. But as we cleaned up on Friday preparing for houseguests, my son had a certain number of bins in his playroom where toys needed to fit. He needed to find out how many of each item could go in each bin. Math! We also got into a discussion about something we’d studied earlier in the week from Science, which bled into history and ended at Geography, with an online search. We were studying! And cleaning! And learning. Cool.

I’ve still got my subjects covered and am still continuing in my very methodical, organized way. I’m just learning where I can loosen the reigns, go with the flow, and enjoy the journey. Now check back with me in a few weeks and see if I’m still flowing. ;)

Gentle Reminders

The truck is rattling. Another repair. Hundreds of dollars … not sure coming from where.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

Friends so close, and a bond so strong. I could only feel shock when you left me all alone.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

I work so hard, no one seems to see. I’m tired, frustrated … just want to be free.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

Food on the table, and clothes on your back. Love my kids … hate to see them in lack.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

Death and destruction … the world is so sad. Injustice, inequality … makes us so mad.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

This was written for you … for me … and anyone any of these situations could apply to. Don’t let your situation dictate your attitude. Happiness is a decision.

Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.

It’s Our Anniversary ….

He'd come up from his office working on the computer. I was across the room schooling the kids. Our eyes met … that look… that smile … that knowing how the other is feeling and gently saying, "I'm here." and "I support you." without having to release the words. That's what 13 years of marriage is about. He's my best friend, my confidante, always has my back, is a loving husband and an awesome father.

I love you, honey. Happy anniversary.

Angry Birds Syndrome

I’m that mom. The one that was at the school all the time, volunteering, taking part, active. I monitor what they watch, who they spend time with, their computer usage, etc. They brush their teeth twice a day, floss every night and eat veggies (or some semblance thereof – something green) every day. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m a pretty involved momma. Sometimes overboard, but I’m entitled. Well, one of those “overboard” times caught up with me … with Angry Birds.

I heard the name of the game, saw the t-shirts and advertisements, and immediately decided it belonged in the bad influence/my kids won’t be watching that crowd. I knew nothing about the game, mind you. It just thought it sounded, well, angry. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a dear friend, whose parenting approach I trust completely, letting her kids play the game. Once I got over my initial shock, I was intrigued. If she trusted it to let her kids play it, maybe I’d let my boys give it a whirl. So I did my due diligence. I checked out the game. Played a couple of rounds. Had to have it pried from my hands. My research paid off, and I decided it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Lol.

And that was several days … and scores of games … ago. Goes to show you can’t always judge a book … or a game … by its cover.

Now where is my Angry Birds game?

Want More? Give More.

Blog - August - community-helping-hands

So many people are so afraid to share with others. They don’t want to share their knowledge, because then you’ll know what they know. Share their time, they’ll be behind in what they’re trying to achieve. Share their resources and what they have … less for them later. And then they’re looking around, wondering why they don’t have enough.

If you want more, the answer is simple. Give more. I’m a giver by nature. I love to help people, to encourage and uplift them, to give them resources that can help them, to give my time and efforts to assist them. And it comes back to me … in huge unexpected ways. Like all of the incredible free resources people are unselfishly sharing with me on my new homeschool journey; like a gracious new friend who invited me to her house and showed me her set up so I can see a homeschool in action; like the many beautiful Godly sisters who love me through word and deed; like my husband who gives of himself to our family every single day.

Giving pays so much more. Expand your borders. Be a giver.

O Captain My Captain

August - Robin Williams picture

Brilliance. Robin Williams exhibited that rare combination of brilliance; an actor who could have you roaring with laughter in one film, then moved and touched beyond comprehension in another. One of my favorite films of all time, and my favorite with him, is Dead Poet’s Society (though Mrs. Doubtfire is a close second). The film, the acting, the cast, were all phenomenal. And Robin Williams was the dramatic glue that held it all together. I’d be remiss, of course, if I didn’t mention some of his other incredible works … Hook, Good Will Hunting, Aladdin, and the list goes on and on.

While his works were incredible and tributes are moving, right now more of us are sadly overcome with the news of his death. Anytime a movie or television star dies, if the actor is from a show or movie we loved, we feel like we’ve lost a member of the extended family. We remember the last time we watched the person on screen; we recall the last time they made us laugh or cry, just like recalling the last time we saw a family member who passed. Such is the case with icon Robin Williams.

But I suspect for many of you, like me, that the pain of his death extends beyond this. It’s not just that he’s gone … but the way that it happened. A vibrant life, snuffed out, before its time. A life … that provided joy and laughter for so many … yet ironically was plagued with sadness and loneliness at the end. A life … spent helping others understand written words and bringing them to life … that in the end didn’t feel as though he could be understood.

And I think that’s what hurts the most. Depression is real. It’s heavy. And it can be heartbreaking. If you’re in a sadness “you can’t get out of”, or it’s been going on for far too long, please talk to someone. Get help. As we see, you are not alone.

Rest in peace, captain.