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Showing posts from October, 2017

Gratitude Attitude

Gratitude Attitude Maybe the best part about fall is the harvest. This golden season makes me happy.  The trees seem more beautiful than ever this year.  I'm thankful for a hundred little things.  One song from a cassette tape in my childhood recently played in my memory.  I have no idea who wrote it or where to find it again.  But I love the words: Having a gratitude attitude shows appreciation.  So with a gratitude attitude win in every situation. My kids often hear me say, “Will you be grateful or greedy?” and then they groan and roll their eyes.  For example, if I offer my daughter five M&M's, will she choose to say thanks, or to negotiate for more?  In the case of M&M's, I totally understand.  But how often do we do that in life?  Do I accept the gifts I've been given with a gracious heart, or do I consistently want more?  What is enough?  (I'll save the essay on "enough" for another day.) A few weeks ago, the  Tabernacle

Work in Progress

People and houses definitely have one thing in common.  We change and evolve over time.  During the summer we did some home improvements.  It started with hardwood floors that needed to be refinished.  We knew it would be painful.  All the furniture had to go live in the garage for a few days, and pianos are heavy.  So is the fridge, and the entertainment center, and the couch, etc.  After the floor was done, all the heavy stuff came back inside.  We accidentally broke part of the fridge, but didn’t realize it for a few weeks... and then it took a few more to get it fixed.  I bought a lot of dry ice during July and August, trying to keep food cold.  These are first world problems, so I kept reminding myself that most of my friends in Paraguay don’t even have a fridge.  I still grumbled, but I’m happy to report that my fridge is fixed, and the season of home improvement was worth it.  Our house was fine before, but now it's better.  I love this house.  I love the floorplan, I lov

Why do you do what you do?

September 2016 I’ve asked a handful of mommy friends to share their stories, and hopefully we can encourage and support each other.  Being a mom is the best job I’ve ever had.  It’s also the most exhausting, draining job I’ve ever done.  During the early years, I remember one day explaining this to Norm, and he couldn’t understand.  He said, “It’s not like you’re not working in a coal mine…”  He was right.  I’ve never worked in a coal mine.  Everything I know about mining I’ve learned from Minecraft.  But maybe moms are a little bit like miners.  Sometimes it’s dark or lonely, and sometimes we can’t see where we need to go.  We know there’s something precious around us, and it’s our job to find what’s useful or beautiful and help shape it. This essay is for the times when I can’t remember why:  for the times when a teenager seems ungrateful, or when a toddler doesn’t know what gratitude means, for when your son runs away from school, or when your precious daughter says somet

The birds and the bees

9.19.17 Karly caught her second fish!  It’s actually the biggest any of our kids have caught.  Of course it nibbled on the line right after Norm and the boys left to go exploring.  He’d explained what to do if she felt a pull on the line, and she did it exactly right.  I helped reel it in, a first for me.  Norm expertly removed the hook and we sent it back to live in the lake, telling it to “just keep swimming…” We weren’t hungry and she didn’t want the lesson on gutting and cleaning your dinner. A few weeks ago I realized that Norm and I hadn’t sat her down for “the talk.”  You know which talk I mean.  With our boys, we made a big deal to start this series of conversations, sometime after they turned eight.  But with Karly we completely forgot.              And so it begins.  Here are some favorite books to help with this: “Where did I come from?” by Peter Mayle  is one we've used to explain sex, how it works, etc.  It's really old and the pictures are super outda

So you have a two year old?

9.14.17             It’s 9am and we’ve already had a meltdown, spilled water all over the kitchen, wiped a runny nose (3x), stolen big sister’s barbies, tried to escape out the front door, painted ten little toenails a sparkly dark pink, and said family prayer with each big kid on their way out the door (3x).  Sound familiar?              Yesterday I texted my younger sister and asked how she was doing.  She wrote back, “I’m doing alright.  Just trying to survive the terrible two’s.  Will it ever get better?”  My reply was, “Yes.  Absolutely yes.  You’re doing a great job.”  We have a funny thing going, where our mommy journeys are on a parallel path.  Her two year old is a few months younger than Amber.  The key difference is that my expectations are lower because I’ve done this before.  Hopefully my insights will offer a little help or at least a little humor.             Remember in junior high when you learned this cool equation?  y = mx + b.  I don’t do a lot of graph

Good Timber

Good Timber by Douglas Malloch The tree that never had to fight For sun and sky and air and light, But stood out in the open plain And always got its share of rain, Never became a forest king But lived and died a scrubby thing. The man who never had to toil To gain and farm his patch of soil, Who never had to win his share Of sun and sky and light and air, Never became a manly man But lived and died as he began. Good timber does not grow with ease: The stronger wind, the stronger trees; The further sky, the greater length; The more the storm, the more the strength. By sun and cold, by rain and snow, In trees and men good timbers grow. Where thickest lies the forest growth, We find the patriarchs of both. And they hold counsel with the stars Whose broken branches show the scars Of many winds and much of strife. This is the common law of life.

Turning Forty

When I was fifteen and a half, I couldn’t wait for my next birthday.  Sweet sixteen was a magical number.  I’d be allowed to drive, and go on dates with boys, and get a job.  I thought if I worked hard, I could be nearly perfect by the time I turned 16.  Somehow I did that to myself again when I was in my thirties.  I told myself that when I turned 40, I’d be wise and elegant and organized.  Well, I’m afraid those qualities didn’t magically show up because a day or a number changed.  I’m still me. My husband helped me with this number a lot.  He found a quote that said something like, “Forty is old enough to know exactly what you want, and young enough to go and get it.”  This is true.  I’m beginning to realize how young I am.  I’ve been watching my parents and my in-laws over this past decade.  They’ve earned so much wisdom from living six or seven decades but there’s a few strings attached:  physical pain and aging.  I think I’ll enjoy forty because my body still feels grea