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Monday, December 31, 2012

Moody Monday - New Year's Eve

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It's been a fun week indeed and the fun continues with family visiting for another few days.  I'm so grateful for family and connections that last a lifetime.  We traveled through a blizzard to be with our far-flung family and brought some back with us.  The days there were too short, and it will be far too long till we can return. Sigh.

2012 was a fantastic year!  There were ups and downs, as always in this life, but it has been a joyful year for me.  I'm looking forward to 2013, and I have plans and hopes ... but I've really learned that there is no way to predict how it may turn out.  There is such a fine balance between planning/preparation and waiting on the Lord to see how things will unfold. 

I was very optimistic about the start of 2012, I feel a bit more uncertain and hesitant about 2013 - I can't explain why, just my gut feeling.  But I'm not worried or anxious.  God has been so good to me.

I hope your year and your perspective are hopeful and open to possibility.  I'll be ringing in the year with games and chili - what about you?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Moody Monday - Christmas Eve

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All is calm and quiet at my house this Christmas Eve.  My children have been visiting with their Daddy and won't be home until Christmas evening.  The weekend felt long and I was missing them terribly.  My children are too young to have their own phones and getting in touch with them can be challenging at times.  But today I'm excited with the anticipation of their arrival tomorrow evening.

There are three piles of trinkets and candle to fill three stockings.  We are blessed with many presents under our tree and food to feed us and more.  It is easy for me to get discouraged trying to create the 'perfect' holiday and failing.  A divided holiday highlights the disparity between what is and what should be.  But more than ever, I'm reminded that this is why we have Christmas in the first place...because we needed God to come to us

We can never get it right on our own, no matter how perfect the holiday cards appear.

May your Christmas hold surprising peace, joys which are are the dearest treasures and meaning that touches your heart.  When the gap between what is and what shoud be become clear, I pray we turn to Christ as the one who makes it alright.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Home Alone at Christmastime - Or Not

Several of my close friends are dealing with their first holiday season post separaton or divorce. It is hard. There is no way to avoid the changes and broken pieces of a family divided. It's time to let go of the expectations for a perfect Christmas. We can’t detour around this brokenness. The only way out is to walk right through. During the holidays the shroud of change can feel especially dark. It will take years before there is a new normal: years with new memories and people to share with. A long time from now, the way things used to be will feel like a lifetime ago. Pain will no longer tinge the sweetness of the memories. But the only way to get to that place is to trudge forward, create another way and new traditions now.

As a single parent, I feel a lot of pressure to "put on" the perfect holiday. We don't want our children to miss anything because of our own relationship shortcomings. It's easy to overindulge, overspend and overschedule. For me, it is important to acknowledge that it just isn't going to be the way it was, but will still be a meaningful and memorable time. Most importantly, have a plan! Be flexible, but know what the day will be like.

Take time to consider:
  • Will you be without your children Christmas morning? It's natural to feel blue and lonely, but make a plan so it's not completely miserable. Join another family, meet up with your relatives, volunteer somewhere. Sleep in!
  • Will the children be leaving midway through the day? Again, this can be a lonely point so make a plan! Lots of theatres are open Christmas evening, go see a new release, gather with another friend or travel to visit someone you haven't seen in a while.
  • Are you prepared? Be sure to have on hand all you need for stockings, meals and incidentals that may come up. When you're the only adult, you have to think and plan ahead. Get those gifts wrapped and don't stay up till 2 am Christmas morning doing last minute things. You want to be rested and ready for the fun!
  • Do you need reinforcements? This is a good time to call on grandparents, aunts uncles or other close family and friends to join you for the fun. I always feel like more people make for more festive holidays.
  • Make the best of it! Whether your children are coming or going on Christmas Day, prioritize what is important to you. Read the books, bake the cookies, eat the feast, hang the stockings. Pass along the traditions you want your children to cherish. You can do this!
Remember what you love about the season and focus on the joys. It's alright if you have a meltdown as you adjust to this new way of doing things. Perhaps you have been single for years and you've already reached the place of "New Normal" - lucky you! Last year I struggled greatly with the disconnect between what was supposed to be and what actually happened in my life. Acknowledging that was part of my healing journey, so let yourself grieve when necessary.

Share with us if you have any fun tips, special traditions or exciting plans that will help make this Christmas a great one. I'd love to know what you're dreading, too! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

And They're Off...

I do think it is the hardest part of separated families ... the division at holiday times.  The schedules just get complicated and it is always harder for the parent without the children, especially on Christmas morning.  It feels impossible that it is normal to be without your children on Christmas morning.  But this is normal, for some years anyway.  Yuck.

My children are gone for a week and will arrive home on Christmas evening.  Then we leave the very next day to a long-distance trip.  Somehow, I will squeeze in gifts and a special meal, unpacking from a week with Dad then packing for a trip to visit the family along with making up for lost time with my littles.  I think it's going to be a little crazy.  But crazy is worth it sometimes, especially when the family lives so far away and occassions to visit are few.

Here are some thoughts to remember when things aren't exactly the way you wish at Christmas time -
  1. Remember that it's not all about you.  There are going to be some years that are easier than others.  Your children will reflect your attitude about the season so give them the gift of a positive spirit, of knowing you'll be okay while they spend time with their other parent.  They certainly don't need to feel responsible for your Christmas cheer.
  2. Remember all the loads of laundry you have folded and put away while the children were tucked in bed?  Rember the meals for which you shopped, cooked and cleaned?  the lunchs packed every. single. night?  the ever-cluttered floors, the crumbs all over the tile, the toothpaste encrusted counters?  Remember when you longed for a few hours when the world stopped and you could just catch up?  This is it!  When you vacuum, it will be clean for a few days.  The hampers will stay empty and the dishwasher won't be needed.  I know you need break, even if you don't want to admit it.  Look for the blessing, even when it comes at a cost.
  3. No need to compete.  It's hard to avoid the materialism of this time of year.  Yet more than ever I see how my children are learning to love giving and experiences together more than things.  Keep your traditions and add new ones for new ages and interests.  Time together will be remembered more than anything under the tree.  If the other parent is getting them an amazing gift, be glad, but don't try to outdo it.  This is hard, but it is important.
  4. Reach out - you won't be the only one doing Christmas differently this year.  Have some friends over, go to the mall, visit a museum, attend the Christmas Eve service, embrace other family members.  It's alright to just be sad, but try not to let that define your holiday.
I hope your holiday season reflects the truth that God came near to us because we need Him so greatly.  Christmas is more than just a day, so take every chance that you have to celebrate the Light of the World and the Love you share with others.  I'm so thankful for this place to share - please share some of your holiday treasures, traditions, losses and hopes.  I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It's Tuesday now, but I wanted to remember yesterday - the Monday after twenty first graders were killed in their classrooms in Newtown, CT.  I have a first grader.  She is exhuberant, joyful, sassy, kind and social.  She likes to tell her brothers how things are to be done and she is excited about anything crafty. 

I'm quite certain that many of were extra prayerful and thankful as we dropped our children at elementary schools today. My heart hurts for those parents that have forever changed morning routines. 

First grade is still such the epitome of childhood innocence.  First graders can be ornery, but most don't really know evil yet.  They aren't aware of how broken our world.  My heart hurts for all the children who saw and heard things that I won't have to deal with, they are forever changed from the carefree children who were dropped off for school Friday morning. 

My first grader doesn't know much about the evil in this world, mostly because I've sheltered her from it in every way that I possibly can.  But I know that this control is just an illusion and that in time she will be exposed to pain, meanness, deceit and plain evil.  It is because of this evil that we need God.  Because of the pain we need a Savior.  Because on our own, we deteriorate to selfishness and twisted thinking and Christmas is for this - God entering our broken world to deliver the light that heals.

I pray for all the families affected and in some way that is all of us.  But my heart especially prays for the mamas this week.  Mothers of the young and the older, all of whom love their children a bit more each day.  And I'm squeezing all of mine a little tighter, making sure they never doubt how fierce is my love for each one of them.

I know you're doing the same.  Are you talking about the tragedy with your children?  Can you help but imagine if you were in their shoes?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Decorating with Children

I love classic, elegant Christmas decorations.  But the reality is that I live with three little ones who love colorful, bold, animated style.  Because it is their home, too - I want to include them.  Here are some ideas of how to do that!

First of all - Let them get their hands on the tree!  It doesn't matter if the ornaments aren't equally balanced or there are silly ones right up front.  Your child will love seeing reminders of things they love on the tree and will feel valuable by being included.  I have one friend who has two trees (children's tree and formal tree), but we don't have the room.  My solution has been to just have breakables on the very upper portion, but this year my children are older and I got brave!  We have glass ornaments all up and down the tree!
Our tree this year, sans colored lights.
My children adore colorful lights.  On my artificial, pre-lit tree, we only have white lights.  So in the past I have added several cords of the old style opaque colored bulbs.  This year, they got the ornaments on the tree before I had a chance to add them ... so we put the colored lights on an evergreen by our front door.  Score for me - only white lights indoors...and I do lots of them: on the china cabinet, over the television, any place I can.  I will always link the white sparkle of lights to the magic feeling.

Several years ago, someone gave us this obnoxious delightful dancing snowman.  I hate it.  But it causes squesls and laughter so every year I put new batteries in it and place it where they can press the button at will.  Whenever the children hear "Jingle Bell Rock," they call it the dancing penguin song.

Between church, school and home, we have tons of Christmas crafts.  I create a space for these to be shown in the kitchen and we also send them to family who live out of state.  The love to see their treasures on display!  When we put together our gingerbread house, I leave it out as decoration ... they have most of the candy picked off and eaten by Christmas Day. 

Our houses get prettier each year!
Another easy way to keep the children involved in Christmas is to play out the Christmas story.  We have the Fisher Price Little People nativity set and sometimes they get to play with our breakable set under supervision.
I still get to have my grown-up decorations that are less flashy and more classic.  And I'm sure as they children get older we'll have fewer brash accessories.  For now, I love seeing their smiles and fun!  It's worth a little tackiness to make memories.
Is there anything you put out at Christmas only for the sake of your child?  Do you have a personal decorating style for the holidays?  I loved this winter woodland tree which I think would make moms and children happy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moody Monday

After a beautiful weekend with crazy, unseasonably warm temperatures, a cold-front is rolling in bringing damp, freezing air.  My weekend was full and I'm well on my way to finishing Santa's list.  It's been fun to hear what the children request this year...cable commercials have expanded their options!
I had one of those difficult single mom moments when their Daddy and his date picked up my three children and they went on an activity we used to do as a family.  It's always hard to feel 'left out' when things like that happen.  I am grateful that the children had a fun evening.
When they came back home, we donned the Christmas Spirit enjoyed festivities of our own: lights, Santa, a pageant, lunch dowtown, it was a big weekend!
This will be our "busy" Christmas week with activities that include a field trip, Christmas parties, guests at our home, traditional baking and more!  We'll enjoy every minute.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Happenings

I do love the holiday season, but can relate to those who feel overwhelmed, annoyed or sad by the extra activity, pressures and stresses.  The division of family and children and who gets whom and when do complicate things.  Add in a new partner, extended family and long distance relatives and there is just a lot of to sort out ... but it is so worth it!  If you haven't already, make a plan now to avoid conflict and unmet expectations.  Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Plan a budget and stick to it - if you haven't already prepared, then work to cut costs in other categories.  Decide who will be getting gifts this year and be thoughtful not extravagant.
  • Make the most of your time with your children - prioritize the memories you want to make.  There aren't enough evenings, weekends and days off to do it all.
  • Communicate with family - are you willing to travel or do you need them to come to you this year?  What days work for everyone to be together?
  • Remember to honor the structure of your parenting plan - none of us like to be separated from our children during meaningful times, but there is more to this season that one day.  Support your children by encouraging them to be generous to the other parent, accepting of those bonds and celebrate upon their return.
This is the year where I will not wake up with my children on Christmas morning.  If you find yourself in this position, I cannot stress enough the importance of a plan!  Two years ago I enjoyed a special lunch with my parents and even got to see Santa.  In truth, it was a terribly hard day, but could have been worse had I been alone and sitting home waiting for the children to return.  Now I have Mr. Wonderful and we will be together.  Nothing can replace the squeals of Christmas morning stocking discoveries, but I'll make the best of this very special day. 

We may not have a chimney or mantle anymore, but I still have a plan for those stockings!  Are your holiday plans taking shape?  What will be the most challenging part of this season for you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moody Monday

My fun crew before the meal!
We had a fantastic Thanksgiving and it felt like such a festive holiday!  I completely enjoyed the time away from work and school schedules.  I got a bit more settled in our home and even put up some Christmas decor.  This is such a fun season.

But I'm so very annoyed with myself.  I consented to letting the children spend some extra time with their Dad.  This resulted in changed plans at the last minute and misinformation being given to them.  He lied.  He gave them poor life skills.  Why do I keep agreeing in order to avoid conflict?  Why haven't I learned this in the twenty years I've known him - he is not working for their benefit, but to make himself feel better.  I am sick.

I spent much of yesterday undoing poor messages and praying that the negative influence will be lessened.  Today, I made an appointment with the lawyer.  We have moved beyond annoyance and games and have entered the realm where there is real risk.  I need my anger to move me to action.  I cannot be passive when it comes to the lives of my children.

Of course that makes my mood rather somber and glum this morning.  I hate that this is part of my life and that it will be this way for the forseeable future.  If I let it, I could get discouraged.  But I know it is only part of my life.  It is challenging but there is so much more that is good and wonderful and joyful and pleasant.  I will use this to continue learning to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.  And learning to not let things continue into a negative pattern, but take action when and where I can.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Man With A Grocery List

I'm weird, I usually type my lists at work.
After the big move last week, I knew I would be too wiped out for Thanksgiving travel.  Mr. Wonderful made the decision to remain here with us and we're going to celebrate our gratefulness together with our children. 

We've worked up a menu that includes favorites from both our families and worked out a plan to get it all done at close to the same time.  It's turning into quite the togetherness project and I thought it was just so dear when Mr. Wonderful asked me to give him a list for the grocery store.

I felt such a sense of teamwork and comradarie.  Through the move, I let myself really depend on Mr. Wonderful - to need him.  For all of my separation, single motherhood and much of my marriage I survived by doing as much as I could by myself.  Needing made me feel weak and while I did ask for help, it was only when I had no other option and to those that I knew would not refuse.

I am terrified of being vulnerable.  And yet I love the reward of opening myself to needing help, to doing life with someone that I love.  I'm just getting used to feeling safe in relationship and it is such a sweet treasure.  It was a simple thing, he asked for a grocery list and then got the groceries.  But it has deeper meaning for me.  Togetherness.  I couldn't ask for more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We Did It!

The movers arrived at the bright light of ... 9:45 am. 
You can bet I was getting frustrated with the late start.
But, they worked hard and I even got to put my feet up for a few minutes and give directions.

I was surprised that we completely filled the truck and had to come back for a few things on my own in the van ... mosty plants that I didn't want to leave behind.

Walking through the empty house helped me realize that it was no longer home. 
But I did want to remember how we marked the height of the children each year.

It is a super-strange experience for me to watch all my earthly possessions going to down the road.

Caleb's photo-journalism skills.

Our new location - I'm grateful for a comfortable place to land.  It's a disaster inside, but it will come together in good time.  Mr. Wonderful and his girls brought us dinner and he saved the day by helping me get the hot water heater turned on, stopped the overflowing washing machine and hooked up the ice maker.  You may remember my fondness obsession with ice makers...little luxuries, y'all - don't take them for granted!
More to come!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Moody Monday

The weekend was crazy, busy, fun and successful!  We are packed and ready to go to our new home and I'm ready to get the action started. 

Over the weekend, I brought some kitchen things, curtains, small elements to the new house.  I also opened a big box of toys in the empty living room and just let the children play while I lined cabinet shelves and did some organizing.  It was so fun to hear the giggles and squeals and to make a little memory at the new place.  I keep reminding them that home is where your family is and not the location.  I think everyone is excited for our next adventure.  It did my heart well to hear their joy.

We had fun with Mr. Wonderful's family, too.  All nine of us had homemade pizzas, played games, went to church and out to lunch afterward.  I enjoyed getting to spend more time with his parents and they got to see how the families work together.  We didn't avoid all chaos, but such is real life.

The truck arrives in the morning and I actually feel ready!  I'm not feeling too moody today, just a bit sentimental.  I spent time with two of my best neighbors who helped me pack this weekend and we emphasized how much we will do our best to stay close.  It won't work, but at least we will try. 

photo credit

Friday, November 9, 2012

Decisions of Divorce: The Marital Home Final Update

Losing my home was one of the first things I thought of the first time my former spouse and I separated.  Almost a year ago, I listed our house as I was required in our agreement.  We had lots of showings but no one was seriously interested and so I let the contract expire with our realtor and enjoyed the summer with children home and less need to keep things so neat. 

When school started back up, I put a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard and got absolutely no calls (except from one very aggressive realtor who wanted to list our home!).  Then one week I had two showings, and comebacks and TWO OFFERS!  Whoa!  We accepted an offer and close on our house next week.  I am finally walking away the home that I clung to for so long. 

The children will get to continue the year at their existing school and I'll be closer to work and Mr. Wonderful.  Knowing that my future is not my past has made this process much easier, but I'm just weary of the physical work.  This weekend will be a frenzy of last minute packing, child wrangling and a meet and greet with the parents of Mr. Wonderful.   It's going to be a bit chaotic, but that seems to be my life right now.

I'm actually excited for the weekend - to spend time with Mr. Wonderful (we don't get to see each other much during the week) and our families.  I've recruited some help to speed up the packing process and hopefully be ready for the big move next week.  I can't wait for my Moody Monday post ... I'm sure I'll have all kinds of annoyances to vent!

Does anyone else have any exciting weekend plans?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Functions & Togetherness

Right in the middle of the moving buzz, we have some family events happening.  My original plan was to travel to the Midwest for Thanksgiving to be with our extended family.  It is always so fun when all the cousins get to be together!  Now we are moving within a week of that day...I just don't know if I can do both! 
The problem is that if I don't go for a visit then, I don't know when I'll be able to make the trip.
Also, the parents of Mr. Wonderful are coming to visit this weekend.  One of the clear purposes is for them to spend a bit of time with my children, and see how the families operate together.  I am just now getting comfortable with all seven of us together and not feeling like it is all chaotic.  Okay, just to be honest, sometimes it is chaotic and I'm just now learning to be alright with that.   I'm not sure if these newcomers will be alright with the beautiful mess that sometimes is our blending families. 

What I'm hearing myself say is that it makes me feel anxious and a bit insecure.  I need to get over that.  When I talk about it with Mr. Wonderful himself, he understands, but dogmatically says it won't matter, this is is how things are and will be.  He says the right things in the perfect way and brings logic to my emotion.  He gives me confidence and I'm grateful for that. 

He has asked for us to spend Thanksgiving together.  We both have our children for this holiday and it would be another step in the blending direction.  I think I'll try to schedule another date for us to visit the Midwest.  This is the direction that I want, to be with him, to be with our children ... together.

Of course, I think that means I have to cook a turkey.  And probably pie.  I'll update soon with a final decison.  Sheesh!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving On

It's about that time! 

I've signed a lease.  I've paid a deposit.  I've walked in our new home deciding where to place furniture, I've started selling what needs to be downsized.  We are leaving the only home the chidren have ever known. 

But they love the new place!  The boys are excited to be sharing a room, the kitchen is larger and they are convinced that carpet (old, used and blue) is better than hard wood flooring.  I've really had to keep my attitude in check to convey to my children that this is a great new adventure that we are choosing, not something sad happening to us. 

I'm grieving a bit as I pack the belongings and remember the hopes when we moved into this home.  Also, I shake my head and can't wait to walk away from the last shared reminder of those dashed dreams.  Except for the children.  They will always connect me with my ex. 

I'm very excited about the future, very much overwhelmed with the packing and decisions, and occassionaly sad or wistful about leaving what we've known and loved so well.  I will miss the familiarity of our neighbors and the convenience of our location.  But this move is a very intentional releasing of the past and looking to the future!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Frightful October!

Fall is my favorite time of year and the colors are at peak right now where I live.  But we haven't taken our annual fall foliage carriage ride, photoshoot, hiking.  We did make it to the pumpkin patch and have enjoyed the leaves at the park, but this October brings more than seasonal change.  We are moving.  For many reasons, moving is an emotional trigger for me, even under the best circumstances.  Doing this alone has made me feel overwhelmed, inadequate and insecure. 

Packing up this house reminds me of when we moved in ... a very different family from what we are today.  I'm grieving those losses a little bit.  The hardest part is losing some of the consistency that we have had for all these years, through the separation and divorce. 

And we are just plain busy!  I'm so thankful that this is our last week of soccer sesaon.  School is in full-on homework mode and I've been busy preparing for a presentation and travel this weekend.  Once I make it through this week, relief will be in sight.  Yes, I have the move coming right up, but I will be able to focus only on that.

This October has had a bit of a shadow over my normally favorite season ... but I do not mind, it's part of the process of growing and changing and looking to the future.  Just like I love these unique, gray pumpkins, I'm trying to make the best of the season of change in our lives.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I know we all live with unpredictability in our lives, no matter our circumstances.  But compared to the married-with-children life that I used to think I had, this Single Mom Life makes me much more aware of my uncertainty.  I am in a season where so much is changing and I feel some anxiety and fear.  I'm trying hard not to let the fear win!  The changes are good ... I need to remember that.  It's just overwhelming and I've seen my hopes and plans fall apart before.  I know it can happen. 

I'm getting to a place where I know that a lot in my life is going to change and feeling ready to take on that uncertainty.  But it doesn't mean I look forward to it.  I look forward to the end results...but walking this path is a challenge.  The prize is that eventually the choice to risk gives way to confidence and trust.

I need to remember that uncertainty also allows for possibility!

This week's #1 Task: Find a rental home.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Mommy, Why did you break up with Daddy?"

This little cutie asked the tough question.

Someone we know recently commented to my children that he "kind of broke up with ---."  Then I was asked this question by my six year old daughter and it forced me to change my immediate plans and sit down for a little family talk.

I repeated a phrase that I have used often through the divorce process, "It was my desire that our family stay together always and this is not God's best plan for families."  I try to remind them how much I wanted us all to live together.  It hurts me that they think this was my plan.  I emphasize that I did not break up with Daddy, there were choices he made which caused it to be better for us to live apart.

I know they don't understand this.  They ask me very pointed questions and I'm not exactly sure how to answer.  The questions are more specific as they get older...answers are vague about grown-up problems, broken promises, etc.  The firstborn remembers lots of yelling.  The baby was surprised to learn that Daddy ever lived in our home.

When the topic moved on to other things, I wrapped it up by reminding the children that even though our family isn't perfect, it is a good family, one of which we are proud to be a part.  I shared how God was with us each step of the way and had taken such good care of us.  He will continue to do that even as we prepare for the next season of our lives. 

Yes, we will be moving soon. I don't know where, yet, but things are certainly changing around here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dear Me

Twenty years ago, I was an eighteen year old freshman in college.  I was so sure that my future was a good and secure one, confident that my choices and behavior would protect me from serious detours.  I didn't expect an easy life, but I thought it would be fairly predictable.  This is what I would write to that perky 18-year-old just setting out ...

That's me in the red, with my sweet sister in 1992.

Dear Missy,

You are having the time of your life - enjoy this season!  Get to know as many different people and diffent kinds of people as you can.  Your mind will open to so many new possibilities.  You are making deep and intimate friendships right now and twenty years later these will still be some of the most treasured relationships of your life. 

That guy you met at lunch the first of year, you will fall blindly in love with him.  Try not to be so blind.  You're keeping some space right now and that is good, but don't get in the habit of protecting your heart.  Let the good in!  It's going to take you many years to discern healthy boundaries for your heart and you will build high, thick walls.  It's okay, but letting those walls down will be the keys to your true happiness. 

You are known for your positive outlook - hang on to that!  You are going to need to see the best in situations more than you ever have in the past.  Remember all those times when it was hard to see the good, but you chose to be hopeful.  Keep up that pattern.

Often you choose to be alone over hanging out with others.  It's okay to like being alone, just don't isolate yourself in the process.  There is strength in going your own way and doing things differently. 

Most of all, try to accept that it's okay to not be perfect. Try to be gentle with yourself. Things in this life aren't perfect, and no one expects that of you. 

What would you tell the you of twenty years ago?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moody Monday - Cranky!

My allergies have been at full scream for the past couple of weeks, and this weekend all that drainage seems to have become infected.  Because my head fills up like a fishtank and it feels like a brick between my eyes, I have trouble sleeping.  Then, in order to alleviate the pressure, I think a 3 am bath sounds like a good idea and I sit in a steamy tub with a hot washcloth on my face trying to find relief.  It does feel better, but it doesn't last.  So then I get back into bed only to roll from side to side as one nostril fills, then the other.  Such a night leads to a very cranky morning.


This is not a great way to start the week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moody Monday - Whew!

Just a quick update to share that I'm negotiating on the sale of our home.  It's a good thing and we'll see what the future holds.  Right now, I just feel a bit overwhelmed!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Peaceful Mornings

Sometimes life with three little ones gets crazy.  Lately things are improving after a rather challenging few weeks.  I'm learning it's pretty normal to have swings of ups and downs.  However, one area in which we are fairly consistent is avoiding the morning crazy!  Beginning our day peacefully is important to my sanity and I believe it sets the tone for their days, also.

What works for us is nothing new - it's sticking to some basic routines and procedures.  Here is our routine - for anytime we have to get up and out, whether to school, church or another activity:

1) Mom gets up first!  This is crucial, even if it only an extra five minutes.  This time to brush my teeth, gather my wits and begin the day is vita.

2) Wake everyone else.  My baby boy (he's four) usually hears me and it quickly up.  Firstborn quickly follows, but I have to wake and rouse my middle daughter.  She's the only one who will sleep till nine if allowed.  Everyone meets in the living room where they get to watch their "shows" (PBS). 

3) Clothing is chosen the night before, so the children get themselves dressed as they watch their shows.  Breakfast is served in the living room.  We rotate through ceral, toast, bacon, biscuits, etc.  Pancakes or scrambled eggs happen when Mommy wakes up and gets completely ready early.  Within a half hour, everyone is dressed and fed.

4) Twenty minutes to go!  This means they take turns brushing their teeth, while I help with hair and check over the outfits.  Beds get made and the dishes or toys put away.

5) At five minutes, we start turning off lights, get lunches into backpacks and head out to the van. 

The children are great about knowing the routine.  We keep our backpacks and jackets on a hook by the garage door.  Bible are on a nearby shelf for church days.  I employ occassional prodding or reminding, and help the little guy quite a bit.  But I'm thankful that our mornings are fairly predictable and calm.  I do so much better to start the day this way.

Little things make it easier: choosing clothes the night before, packing lunches in advance.  Are your mornings crazy or calm?  Do you do have any hints or tricks to make things run more smoothly!   I confess that I love the days my neighbor has carpool ... it gives me a few extra minutes to tidy myself and home. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

An Update & A Preview

I am super-busy but feeling super-productive!  Here are some updates and upcoming notes ...
  • School, soccer, Awana, church: we are busy!
  • My home will go back on the market officially on October 1.
  • I'm doing home maintenance and seasonal chores like crazy!
  • I can't wait to show you my organized pantry - woo hoo!
  • I'm purging all sorts of of things and it feels great.
  • I long for a new recliner.
  • I worry less than I used to, but it still creeps up on me at times.
  • It is great to be back in small group at church - love those girls!
  • We found a puppy.  We fell in love.  We found its owners.  Even I was sad.
And coming soon -
  • We need to get back to the mountains, it's been too long.
  • Cooler weather is predicted for next week.
  • I plan to move my boots from the top shelf to the closet floor. 
  • I have a new babysitter scheduled for fall break.
  • My sister is coming to visit at the end of the month - YAY!
  • The van has lasted for over a year without any major repairs needed.  Now I need new tires, breaks and a bit of body work.  Ick.
  • Mr. Wonderful will have to help me with transportation while my van gets worked on (note to self: ask him!)
  • Oh, he looks cuter than ever in soccer shorts!
Tonight is a night to hang out with my peeps.  First my children when they come home from school, then over to Mr. Wonderful's home and his girls.  Tomorrow morning I'll exercise with a friend then go to a soccer game.  I hope to get my bathroom and bedroom taped off for painting.  Ick.  And take a load to the Habitat Store.  We may venture to the mountains Sunday after church.

Does anyone else have fun weekend plans? 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Change in our Sunday Schedule

I shared last summer how I had decided to join the Single Moms Class.  More than a year later, I've decided not to go anymore.  Honestly, I have mixed feelings because I hate to disappoint anyone and I know the teacher genuinely cared for me and my children.  Still, I'm confident this is the right choice for me, and for the kiddos.  Here's why:
  1. There has been a change in the way our church organizes it's children's program and there is only one hour of children's programming. 
  2. I haven't bonded with any members of the class and I've had doubts about whether is is a good fit for a long time.  But I was determined to give it my best for a year. 
  3. We have joined Mr. Wonderful at his church as we explore more ways to integrate our lives.  Attending one service at our church frees us to join him and his family for a second worship time.
So, change continues to be the norm for us.  When I let go fo the false guilt, I feel really good about my decision.  I also found the article below interesting - especially noting that singleness is intended to make us more available for service, not to receive a catered program.

The Great Disappearing Singles Ministry

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bye, Bye Summertime!

School started almost a month ago, but summer 'officially' ends with the arrival of Labor Day.  We've had a fantastic summer - really great.  I especially loved our laid-back schedule and simple days.  Here are my best memories:
1 - Hilton Head Beach Trip
If I wasn't in love before, I certainly was after spending a week with Mr. Wonderful!
2- College Girl Friend Getaway
Nothing compares to the friendship we share!
3 - July 4 Freedom Festival
 I loved getting to do fun things with our favorite people!
 4 - Smoky Mountain Swimming, Hiking, Picnics & Wildlife

Visits With My Parents
My family are the best and most supportive, I am SO glad to have them and SO sad they live far away! 
I look for the best in each season, but I simply adore fall: the colors, the clothing, the activities, the mountains - everything.  I'm working on goals and praying about what is out of my control as I plan to once again list the house.  My sister is coming to visit, our schedule is exceptionally full and life is good.  I'm so grateful for our relaxed summer as our fall routine is unusually full!

If the weather permits, we're going to the zoo this weekend.  What are your weekend plans?  How was your summer?  What's new this fall?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moody Monday

It was a cool and foggy morning today.  I'm still a bit shocked that we are entering another season!  The sun will soon burn away the fog and the temps will be warm, but it is a jolting reminder that time just keeps zooming by.

I had such a sweet Sunday in worship yesterday and I was very grateful for many things.  This was followed by a challenging parenting afternoon.  I realize that I've been lax in some areas and some bad habbits have creeped in ... undoing this feels like a daunting task, so I've been trying to prepare myself for the job.  This is when it's most hard to be the only parent in the home.  There is no back-up, no one to say, "You did the right thing," when an unpopular decision is made, no one to pass off the baton when I'm just weary. 

But, I'm ever aware that time is just a-passing-by and those behavior habits that I don't like will only become more entrenched if I don't work on them now.  So that's my goal.  I would like to be intentional and set some specific goals ... it helps me to remember the bigger picture when I feel lost in a mini-battle!

We add Awanas to our schedule this week!  What a fun and busy year this is going to be - I need to remember that on the days I feel overwhelmed.  Is anyone else ramping up to a new 'fall' schedule?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fabulous Friday

I seriously love the feeling of Friday ... my workweek is ending.  I get to cuddle, snuggle and touch base with my children after school and they are carefree with the possibility of the weekend ahead.  Then I get to send them to their Daddy's and I get a night for me - don't judge.  I'm much better for the me-time that I get!  Dare I say it is a perk of single motherhood?  We need to find them where we can, my friends.

We have just finished our second full week of school and while we're all a bit worn out, I'm so thankful that it's been a good start.  May the rest of our year be as calm and smooth.  This week we added soccer to our list of activities.  Next week is the first of Awanas.  The week after that my baby starts preschool and we should be up to speed for our fall schedule - whew!

Is anyone else adjusting to a new routine?  Share what you're looking forward to most this weekend!