So, what’s been going on?

I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I blogged. That alone shows me that giving up Little Things Thursday was the hard, but right decision for this season of my life.  I want to thank everyone who stopped by to thank me for the 4 years of hosting and those who just generally gave a few words of understanding. Each Thursday since I have missed our little community here, but am so thankful that Tamar is carrying the torch!

I don’t plan to let weeks roll by between blogging like these past couple weeks, but I did just need some time to focus on being the mom and helping my family get started with the new school year.

So, what’s been going on around here lately?

August 17-01-2016

Our 2016-2017 homeschool year is now in the second week. We’ve started well, but I tell ya, those 6:30 mornings have been hard! Coffee, coffee…and lots of it.

Gracyn begins in September, but she has plenty to work on before the first day.

I’ve also been getting back into a meal planning and cooking routine. I don’t know what it is about summer that makes me say, “meh” to having a plan, but once school begins I become more proactive with making sure I’ve thought through our food situation. Tomato pies with homegrown tomatoes have been on the rotation, and I even attempted a Thai dish this past week. I have some skills to develop on that, but it was a valiant effort.

August 17-02-2016

We also busied ourselves fulfilling a birthday request for an updated room for Gracyn’s 15th birthday. We realized that this is most likely the last big re-do before decorating a college dorm room. Gah! Seriously?

I mean, we do have 3 full years before we need to send one off to college, but I know how this time thing works. Tapestry and bedding are from Urban outfitters. There are fairy lights around the perimeter of the room, and a desk to the right of the door for all those studying days ahead.

And speaking of studying…the PSAT is October 15th and Gracyn is studying for her driver’s permit. I truly am in some alternate universe, it seems. I’ve definitely turned a parenting bend in the road and have no idea what I am doing or how to make sure we are on top of all the stuff! #firstkid

We are figuring it all out and starting to talk colleges and degrees and scholarships. We are trying to verse ourselves in all of it to make sure we make the most out of each step in the process.

We bought study guides and SAT vocabulary cards to get going on prep.  Got tips? Send them my way.

That’s our slice of the world these last couple weeks and it surely feels like new territory in so many ways. I guess that will be lots of blog about in the days ahead!

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For All That You Have Done For Us

This past Sunday our worship team sang For All That You Have Done For Us by Rend Collective, which is set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. I had not hear this before, or at least I hadn’t remembered hearing it.

But, what an incredible song of praise as we look back over the last year with Thankfulness.

Your grace will never be forgot

Your mercy all my life…

Christmas 2015-1 Christmas 2015-2 Christmas 2015-3 January 16-1

Will be my source forever song
My story and my light

2015 had its share of ups, downs, transitions, and general overwhelm.

But even in all of that, one only needs to look around to see that everything is grace and everything has purpose.

The little blessings are huge and numerous when we stop to count them one by one. Mine might not look as grand as the one next to me, but they are grand when viewed through the lens of grace.

And when I truly take stock of all I have I am humbled and even ashamed of my grumblings.  I’m making the effort to count those small blessings this winter when I am often plagued by the blues. I’ll be doing a #100happydays on Instagram to document the blessings that God gives me.  The smaller the better.

I am so tuned to see the big as what counts (especially when I get trapped by comparison), so I am only focusing on the small things that equal a happy life.

I know that waiting for the big things will cause me to miss the bounty before me.

I hope you are all off to a great start in 2016. Let’s count our blessings!

Linking with Randomosity and Songography. So happy to be back to joining these lovelies!

 

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September

There are just a couple days of September left, but she was good to us!

So many new beginnings came this month. The biggest was our oldest heading out of the home a couple days a week for school. She attends Monday and Thursday classes, and works at home the other 3 days.  The classes are challenging and the work load can be intense. It’s a great push for college prep! She writes 2-3 essays per week, which shocked me, but I can see how that is developing her so much.  She got a 100 on her very first essay comparing To Kill A Mockingbird with Pride and Prejudice.

September 26-2015

I’m happy to report that she has 3 A’s and a B in her studies, so far. Algebra 1 is proving to be the nemesis, so I spent my Friday night brushing up on Order of Operations so that I can help tutor. Algebra was never my strong suit, but together we will learn!

I whipped up some breakfast burritos this month to help the morning rush and to feed the kids something that would sustain their bellies until lunch.

Do you guys like vintage Pyrex? I have been scouring antique shops for a set and finally found a pristine collection in the Cinderella series. The pattern I found is one that I remember from childhood. I don’t know who had this pattern, but I remember it in someone’s kitchen. I needed a set of mixing and serving bowls desperately. I was down to one.

September 25-2-2015

Fall began, and so did my Wednesday Night, Mommy Needs a Work Night, Starbucks. That’s the official title.  I’m using this time to catch up restructuring my photography business.  I’ve realized that there are some changes that I need to make that will help protect my over-arching goals and if I can’t do that, then I’ll need to stop.  I don’t want to stop, so it is time to strengthen my backbone in some key areas.

Soccer began again.  It’s a new beginning in that we changed from a beginner’s league to a real rec-league with some rock-star type players.  My boys are a bit outclassed at the moment, but it is pushing them to new heights, which is exactly what they needed. I’ve already seen them digging deeper to develop. We weren’t getting that at the other league after 5 years.  It was a perfect entry point, but it was time to move on.  They are going from 1 practice and game per week to 2 practices, 1 skill camp night, and 1-2 games per week.  They love playing, so we want them to truly develop the skills they need to succeed. They were always the better players at the former league and well, if that’s the case, that’s as far as you develop.  Being with stronger players will only make them stronger.

Homeschooling the boys has been great.  They are growing by leaps and bounds, which makes the schooling enjoyable for all. We are taking school on the road on Mondays while big sis is in classes. That change of environment is just the boost we need to stay revived.

So September, thank you for being a great start.  We are looking forward to the rest of fall and finding the good in it!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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Little Things Thursday

I am still working through some film shares from my recent rolls spanning spring-summer.  I guess they are a fitting tribute for saying goodbye to summer’s season.

Newsie Aidan Film 01-blogIf you’ve been around a few months, you might remember the Newsies session I shot in spring. I shot most of it digitally, but brought my trusty antique Minolta along with a roll of film. For funsies. This already feels like a long time ago.

Gosh, I tell you, I’m ready for the pace of the cooler season when things start to slow down a bit.  This week alone had me trying to get dismissed from jury duty due to being a homeschooling parent, setting up a rigorous orthodontic plan for my oldest, overseeing 3 grades of schoolwork, two soccer games, 2 soccer practice preps, playing taxi, refereeing sibling squabbles, cleaning house, trying to exercise, and cooking umpteen meals after shopping for said meals and putting up all the groceries. Does anyone else loath putting groceries away, or is it just me?

I guess all the above just grants me rights into the parenting club. I’m not special. We parents are all juggling the very same things. I wouldn’t trade any of it because I know that it’s a privilege to be the anchor of a home, but when breathers come I am grateful.  To me, fall is a great big old sigh of relief. It’s like getting an invitation to hibernate from all the busy of the season just passed. Every thing begins to settle into a familiar routine and growing pains of a new school year have passed. I’m looking forward to being through all the adjustments of late and soaking in a bit of the quiet recreation that fall affords.

How about you? Are you ready?


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Little Things Thursday

This week has been so busy and I’m struggling to keep up with everything. Somehow, I thought my load would lighten a bit this year, but my load has been anything but light. In fact, it has grown.

flowers from summer 01-blog

Kodak Portra 400 on Minolta SRT 101

I can’t figure out if things are just busy due to the newness of school or if this is how our year is just going to be. Either way, it’s OK. I’m just trying to figure out balance.

Does balance really exist or is that a thought we just console ourselves with?

I haven’t been able to do much for myself these last 6 weeks, but I am excited that my Starbucks Wednesday nights are back! I will get two+ hours to just sit in a semi-quite place and work on personal and professional things. It’s a small oasis carved out in the busy of everyday life.  I’m thankful for it because I have felt the weight of trying to get to my growing to do list.

It’s an exciting prospect.

Well, how about your beginning of fall? Let’s see a bit of it!

 

 An InLinkz Link-up


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Little Things Thursday

I had planned to have something more exciting to post today, but life hit us in the bumper.  We got in a little fender bender this afternoon and it threw a wrench in my plans for getting anything else accomplished.

But we are okay! We just need a new bumper, and that bumper will be paid for by the at fault driver.

G at church-blog

As I picked up Gracyn from Youth Group, I saw this little pocket of light and made her go sit in it because I desperately needed something to post for Little Things. And the light was lovely.

Of course she kept looking over my shoulder to see if her friends were watching.  I mean it is embarrassing to have your mom take your photo in front of people. Especially teen type people.

In the end it’s the perfect post because life is a series of little events.  Some of those things we celebrate and others maybe not so much.  But the good and the bad are the make up of life and we gotta take them both.


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Kids Live Here

The evidence is all around. 24/7/52. My inner neat freak wrestles, but my mama’s heart takes comfort in the reminders of their presence.

They are still gonna have to clean this up, though.

kids live here

kids live here

kids live here

kids live here

kids live here

Except monkey. This one I love.

Linking up with Black and White Wednesday and Wednesdays Around the World.

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Goodbye 2014

Goodbye to 2014.

january sky

There are just a few hours to go before this year closes.  I’ve been wrestling with my word of the year the last couple days and in many ways I feel completely stuck on 2015.

2014 was a great year in so many ways, but if I’m honest I put a ton of pressure on myself.  My word of 2014 was seek.  I did a lot of seeking.  Many questions were answered, and yet a few questions remain a mystery. I learned who I can count on to go through trench warfare with me and who will let me be completely honest without wounding me with my own transparency.  There was so much striving to figure this stage of life out and how “to be” in this time of our lives.  If you think about it, we are bombarded constantly by messages telling us how being this way or that way is better than that way or this way.  These kinds of parents are superior (in their own minds) to those kinds of parents.  People with this set of gifts are better than people with that kind of talent. My kid is smarter than your kid.  I could go on and on, you get the picture.  We are hit with so many messages saying, “do more, do better” and “be more, be better”. It’s exhausting.

But now, I’m sort of stuck on what’s next. Uncharacteristically of me, I’m going to give myself permission not to know or try to figure it out.  So, I suppose my words for 2015 are “pause” and “follow”.

I’m choosing pause because I need to just give myself room to live for the fun of it.  I don’t want to fill every space.  Space is the best place to reflect on what matters.  When I fill my calendar with too much, I lose that sense of true connection and reflection.

I’m choosing follow because in 2015 I just want to follow God in what He shows us.  2015 is His year just like every other year.  It’s not really my year to plan. There is so much freedom in saying, “You know what? I don’t have to know”. It’s okay to have desires and to seek their fulfillment. By the same token we need to rest in God to give us His desires, which truly are best.

I’m going to rest in that, imperfectly, of course.

 

 

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Checks and Balances

This little season I’m in is a series of checks and balances.  For every little struggle there has been some small happy to make everything more bearable.

There is so much busy currently.  All of it is a good kind of busy, but coming at a time when I’m trying to field a lot of real life.

First week of march instagrams

Like participating in a week of food events when you just realized you needed to change your diet to eliminate gluten.  Or perhaps trying to figure out a plan for the child that needs more math help, and with that the expenses of tutoring.  Not to mention the braces that the same child needs that come with a massive price tag because her situation is unique, not just cosmetic.  Then there is the process of building a business while you homeschool and run a home.  And knowing that this process isn’t for a hobby, but for being able to work at something you love without having to “go back to work”.

It’s an overwhelming time.

First week of march instagrams

But those balances come.

They come in the form of an early spring daffodil.  Or by way of the far away friend making sure you know you have value.  And then doing it all over again 24 hours later with a treat from far away.  It’s in the bun you can eat at a restaurant and the helpers who come to aid you in the kitchen at church for an event.  It’s your daughter snagging the flag of her birth in the parade of flags.  The gluten free pretzels that cost $6, but make you feel human.   It’s in taking your children to the Asian market and watching them ooh and ahh over old favorites.

It’s in a 1000 little things.  If you look.

It’s also in knowing that none of us own all the problems in the world and we are all just doing life.  The best we can.  Struggles, disappointments, and hardships are part of being human.

But so is joy.

Linking with Good Random Fun and Wednesdays Around the World.

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Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now

It wasn’t that long ago, or so it seems, that I laid upon the ground staring at the clouds with imaginations running wild.  I’ve always been quite the dreamer.  I dreamed of what was to come with that delicious feeling of excitement of all that lay ahead.  College. Career. Marriage. Babies.  I was in a grand rush to get to the goods of life, and yet these things seemed to come to me at a snail’s pace.  It came to me much like Christmas comes to the child eager for Christmas morning, but it came.  And it has all been good.

I’m 41…and a half. The half doesn’t hold the same clout it once held.   This year it has hit me hard that all of those anticipated things are now beyond me.  I guess you could say that mid-life crisis has paid me a visit.  I feel young.  What I feel inside, my mirror betrays.  A scattering of grays and lines have become my new companions.

I often feel sorry for age, but not wisdom.   I know that in many ways I’m just beginning.  I wouldn’t go back.  I’ve seen both sides now.  I’m blessed with most of everything I’ve dreamed.  Anything that didn’t come was to God’s good credit.  What broke me in youth has forged me into a strength I wouldn’t trade.

On days when age really gets me down, I just log on to Facebook and see faces of days gone by.   They’re old, too.   It makes me feel a little better.

Linking with Songography, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.

 

 

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