august refresh

September 14, 2014

i love coming together with other mama’s, sharing hearts and encouragement as we walk this wild journey of motherhood.

a friend from church and i had been throwing around the idea of hosting a mama’s bible study since early last year … but there were always obstacles and hiccups. the timing seemed off.

around the middle of this summer, the inspiration came to me again so i started thinking of ways to make it happen. the phrase, “august refresh” came clearly to my mind and i knew that’s what we’d do: meet weekly just for the month of august. to refresh.

i asked just a few friends to see the interest and got a resounding “YES!” from almost every one. we were all looking for this thing, right about now. i wasn’t sure at first what book to study – or should we study scripture? – but after some looking and seeking, i found the very perfect choice for our group: “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.” yes, that was us.

as i think over the month, over those 4 tuesday mornings that we met, i smile. it was *such* a time of sweet refreshment! we were able to have my maddie and her darling friend watch all our kids, upstairs! away from us! contained and mostly happy! :) the first week, once babies and kids were happily upstairs being cared for, we all sat and laughingly agreed that if we didn’t discuss a single thing, the week would be a success: we’d have this 1 1/2 hours to rest. to breathe. ;)

but it turns out, we *did* discuss much. we shared insights, convictions, concerns, burdens, ideas, prayer. there is something so special about women coming to together!

i am so thankful for the blessing the women and that pocket of sweet time was in my august … thankful that i decided to step forward and do the thing that was on my heart. looking forward to next time :)

doing the hard thing

August 17, 2014

there was a day last week, when both boys were napping at the same time (bliss) and i faced that ultimate question: do i drink my iced coffee and rest on the couch with a good book for a few quiet moments of much-needed rest OR do i exercise? as i was deciding (and leaning toward the former) i got a text from one of my workout accountability partners, saying that she was stepping on the treadmill. that was just the boost i needed and i went for a really great run … the weather was finally cooler and it felt great – both getting a workout done and just being outside, alone.

this morning, i faced a similar situation: both boys were up at the insane hour of 5:30am (what??) and i had agreed to go with a girlfriend to a new exercise class at 10. as 10 approached, i felt weary (already on my 2nd cup of coffee), grumpy from already having broken up countless fights, toy grubbing, falls and mayhem. i ran through all the rationale about why of course going to exercise was out of the question … and that not going was completely legit.

at 9:44 i put on my clothes and decided to GO. just go. and sure enough, it was incredible (an aside: it was the most intense challenging grueling HIIT – high intensity interval training – that i have *ever done. ouch). i drove home, GLAD … that i had made the decision to go.

the hard decision. 

a sweet girlfriend commented last week that she couldn’t believe when i could finally sit and rest i chose to exercise. and after working out this morning, i’ve been thinking a lot about how i’ve been making the hard decision, most days, to exercise.

and it isn’t self-congratulatory, or prideful … as i evaluate this. i am realizing that we can always find some seriously legit reasons not to do the thing that is the best thing. i am for sure in a super crazy busy season w/these two little guys, a teen about to start a rigorous classical education home school high school year, a hubby that works round the clock, a commitment to preparing whole real food most of the time, the list goes on.

and yet i am realizing that what “they” say about building self-esteem: not built through empty praise but through doing the hard thing, experiencing success and growth and competency – it’s true. it feels good to realize that i *can and do often choose the hard thing and that over time, this choosing is growing me and forming me in to more of the person i want to be when i grow up. ;) in so many areas (like parenting) i struggle with feeling effective and capable. but i am finding that this sense of self-efficacy (to borrow a old sociology term) really does impart a boost to all areas of life. 

the scale isn’t budging much, i am not seeing instant results, but in other (more important?) ways, things are getting better. after making the hard choice, most days i am left with a true boost (is it those endorphins?) and it often informs my eating choices throughout the day. today i was in the checkout line and had hit that late afternoon wall and oh boy, did i want that chocolate bar. but then i remembered the workout i did this morning and didn’t want to trash that with a few bites of pleasure. so, the hard decision was made. no chocolate (wah, lol). i don’t always walk this line very straight. lots of curves and bends in the road for me.

but it feels good to be walking it. 

recreation mode

July 18, 2014

it seems that everywhere i turn – hanging out with friends, browsing social media – the focus is on summer plans.

“what are you doing this summer?”

it can be so easy to get caught up in comparing and i am having to be more focused and mindful than ever about not slipping in to the comparison funk. because here’s the thing: we are not in a season where taking big trips (or even small trips) is very feasible.

we are five years in to living in radical obedience: hubby and i both leaving our jobs (read: steady income) to embark on homeschooling and entrepreneurship. it has been the most intense, raw, difficult and rewarding time and we both know for certain we are walking the path GOD has set for us. there is deep down peace even as the tides of desperation and crisis have rolled over us more than a few times.

suffice to say, disposable income for recreation and fun hasn’t been in the budget for the most part. for sure, there have been pockets of time where we’ve indulged and honestly, if i look over even the course of the past week, i see (relative to the rest of the world) a TON of fun … just local, small-scale fun.

water parks, play dates with friends, local kid’s museums, time with family, dinner out with girlfriends, sleepovers, grabbing a meal out, an iced coffee (or 2!), library story times,crafts and learning time at home, walks and wagon rides … all this in the span of a week.

which is lovely and blessed and beautiful. 

but boy how easy it can be to fall in to the comparison trap!! two of my dearest girlfriends are flying to *hawaii* this weekend for a week and i am so SO happy for them! many friends are taking similarly awesome trips and many more are taking cool day trips: water slides, the beach, you name it.

i want to do those things. really bad. i am a road trip girl at heart; i love to travel, explore, see and taste all that’s around me. i love the mountains, the ocean, lakes.

and yet right now, RIGHT NOW … i am reminded:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (i timothy 6:6). my deep desire is to faithfully move through this season, embracing ALL the beauty and blessings and not wasting a single second longing for someone else’s blessing.

this is a little pocket of happy. it’s hard to explain, really, how much this little place and it’s happy farmer nita bring a smile to my heart.

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

the barn door is closed here but the door on the right is the one that opens to her farm stand

 

i can’t remember when i first stopped by but a few months ago, i saw her  “open” sign and stopped by to see a table of eggs by the dozen … $2.50/dozen! and the *best part*: the little cash box to leave money in. this honor system seriously is a relic of innocence and a touch of small town that makes me happy.

i’ve since become a regular egg-buyer, getting my weekly dozen every friday for $3. can’t beat the quality – pure bright orange yolks, large awesome eggs. and the part that i still blesses me? that time i stopped by last month when i didn’t have cash on me and she insisted i leave with a dozen eggs and just repay her the following week. does that even happen??!

in the past few weeks, her offerings have grown and so has my excitement! and here’s the thing: *every single time* i stop by, she blesses me with an abundance. more than i ever pay for. last week she said, ‘do you like green beans? i just picked so many and you have to take some home.’ and she sent me home with an overflowing bag of fresh green beans.

 

farm1

 

there really is very little sweeter to me than the goodness of REAL FOOD, grown and harvested with love, shared generously.

nita’s story is pretty awesome, too: a mid-life single lady sold her place in southern california and bought this historic farm … setting aside 3 years of mortgage payments so she could spend that time cultivating and growing her land. a dream, realized!

it’s been fun to spread the word and have friends and family stop by … last weekend, my mom and grandma visited her stand and mom shared the great conversation they had.

it’s lovely to live the thing i believe in: develop relationships with those that grow my food (since i can’t yet grow it myself); buy local – support local farmers; eat REAL food and see where it comes from! my kiddos love our stops to the “farm”! it is just around the corner from my house and driving by, seeing her “open” sign, peering in to see the table of fresh offerings … makes me happy every time.

 

those bunches of beets - $1.75/bunch and i've loved them! the greens are so great. there's the little cash box in the front :)

those bunches of beets – $1.75/bunch and i’ve loved them! the greens are so great. there’s the little cash box in the front :)

today’s 5k

July 4, 2014

this morning, i ran in our little town’s local 4th of july 5k run. the feeling of deep gratification at completing the race is really indescribable.

flash back a few months ago … i was still deep in excuse-making about how i really just can’t exercise regularly. and truly, i had a ton of good reasons. the reality is that i had/have zero time that is not accounted for or attached to a little person (day & night); i am not a mama who takes a lot of “me” time and if i connect with friends, it usually involves the kids with us; i am using tons of energy as it is chasing these boys (!) so having “extra” energy to go and exercise seemed … distasteful.

for over a year, i knew a couple of my dearest girlfriends were in a sort of text accountability support group – texting daily updates on what workout they did, eating choices, etc. they’d mentioned it to me and always opened the door. yeah, right!

so a few months ago, i got the local parks and rec magazine and flipping through the pages, i came to the little ad about the 4th of july race. 5k. and something in me leapt with excitement. i tabbed the page and thought … i could do this. maybe i should do this!?

in 2007, i determined to run another local 5k and diligently worked through the couch-to-5k training program. to this day, i remember the incredible feeling of crossing that finish line. of being a non-runner, and DOING it!

i wanted to do it again.

and so i started: saturday, may 10. not sure i told anyone those first couple weeks – held my little secret plan close to my heart, wanting to see myself really stick with this before sharing my intention.

this training program is so incredible and truly designed for the non-runner, on the couch! the first few weeks are mostly walking; small bursts of jogging (like 30 sec) added to a few minutes of walking … repeat. gradually, the jogging distances lengthen. and it becomes manageable. a few times i would look ahead to the next week’s training and think – no way will i be able to run 8, or 10 minutes straight! after all, when i started, i couldn’t jog to the corner.

creating time to workout never magically became easy. every time, it took planning, and most often it resulted from my amazing daughter willingly watching her brothers. a few times, i would hear them screaming in protest after i had snuck out the door but i didn’t turn back. they survived. and i got my workout done.

and the coolest part: i began to feel completely awesome after my runs! endorphins? satisfaction? feeling my body getting stronger, more capable? all of it, perhaps. it felt and it feels good.

{we are so blessed, those of us with the capacity to really use our bodies! i would often be running, thinking of those who are wheelchair-bound, who would give anything to *get* to train for a 5k.}

oh, and another awesome unfolding … a few weeks in to this training program, one of my dear friends who is in that little accountability encouragement group, inadvertently sent a daily workout update text to me. and finally, the time was right. yes! i would love to join these awesome mama’s. and it has been the biggest blessing. i’ve started doing my running 3 days a week and at least 2 other days i do some kind of high intensity interval work. it’s been *good*.

ah, so today!!!! the race started at 7:30am. i picked up my race packet yesterday and freaked out! surreal. i was restless and nervous last night – butterflies – and of course because real life keeps on, i was up a few times during the night with my boys. no rest for this mama! finally at 5:30am i decided to get up … ate a little and got myself and the crew ready and out the door. we arrived to the start line by 7am and had 30 minutes to kill! ah. i was just jittery. heart pounding. anxious. ready to start and finish.

 

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

giving my dumpling caleb a kiss as i got ready to run

 

finally it was time to line up …i joined the mass and stood near the back. the gun sounded and we were off. and the truth is, most of the run was hard. i never felt that “flow” that i’ve experienced on some recent runs. it was effortful, and yet my number one goal was to NOT WALK. no matter what. and i didn’t! a few times i had to slow down and that was fine.

the run was a quick jaunt through downtown (all 10 blocks, lol) then up a long stretch of highway. that part was the roughest; there was a turnaround and for a time, i couldn’t even see the turnaround point … it was totally a mental game at that point. and then of course there were the young bucks, the high school track kids who did the turnaround and were already heading back to the finish line as i was still far from turning! ahh.  but finally, i got to the turnaround and got a quick drink of water. the way back was much more tolerable; i could see the large grange building slowly approaching and finally, saw the turn back on to pine street (the main street through downtown). i turned and had just 3 blocks to go … home stretch!

it felt great finishing; great seeing my family and honestly just being DONE. doing it.  YES!!

 

YES!!

YES!!

 

 

race3

 

 

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

my girl had brought money with her to buy me flowers during my run. made me cry.

 

i am not sure what is next. certainly a part of me is excited by the challenge of future races; of getting faster, of the running becoming more comfortable and of just being more well-trained. during today’s run i kept thinking, never again! this is the worst! lol. but perhaps running a race is a bit like childbirth – we forget how horrible and are left only with the sweetness of the outcome. we shall see.

scavenger hunt :)

June 7, 2014

yesterday we “hosted” a scavenger hunt for Madison’s CC class. it was a BLAST! this is something she has been wanting to do with her CC friends for months … and a couple months ago we put June 6 on the calendar and suddenly the day arrived. :) we created a list of one hundred items the teams had to find in the mall. we ended up with 9 kids so i divided in to two teams; they had to stick together, everyone on the team had to see the item, and the first time to return with the list complete won!

i was so thankful that a dear girlfriend offered to watch josiah as i am not sure how i could have managed overseeing activities with both boys at the mall. would not happen! josiah had a *blast at lori’s (yeah!) and caleb was a chill dumpling on my lap, allowing me to visit (say what?! actually conversate with the mama’s?! LOL). we had a sweet time visiting, caleb was mostly entertained playing with my phone, a snack, a toy and some kind mama’s who talked to him (but he never left mama’s lap).

i expected the kids would take about an hour but it was nearly *two hours before the winning team returned! they were happy, full of funny stories of various hard-to-find items (a mall employee named sara topped the list :) ).

a great, frugal and fun summer activity for sure!

 

such a darling group!!

such a darling group!!

 

 

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

 

SCAV list

a little hello

May 31, 2014

it’s been so long. life has been intense these days – a word i keep coming back to, and fitting. self-employment, long long work hours for hubby, unstable income, parenting challenges, 2 small and nonstop boys, josiah’s consuming skin issues and subsequent sleeplessness. three years of fatigue and sleeplessness *does begin to impact one’s sanity, i’ve concluded. it’s pretty real.

that said, it’s also a time of fullness – and growth. a precious dear friend said this to me last week: this is one of the most difficult but also one of the most valuable times of my life (her words were more eloquent). indeed. for starters, we are completely dependent on GOD’s provision and have experienced it and HIM in ways that we *never* would have, were we still ensconced in the system of jobs and steady paychecks.

hard and good.

and i am being stretched way beyond my capacity and skills as a parent, particularly with my precious teenage daughter. my instincts are just not there – or really, my instincts lean way too far toward the comfort and happiness of my child. i *know* what i want as far as character training and i *know* the deep lessons and discipling that i am called to do and yet i fall so short. i am so thankful for a partner with  great wisdom, strong instincts and who is the leader GOD has given our family. and most of all, i am seeing that perhaps in this area of struggle and lack, GOD is really calling me to HIM: to His strength that He promises for me, His wisdom that he generously supplies. oh, that i would move quickly out of discouragement (self-focus, really) and look UP.

and now, for a few pictures? many of these are repeats from instagram ( oh, i love that social media outlet that allows sharing of lives through pictures!) …

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

this is happening right now: my beloved, taking the boys on an adventure, sporting the dora backpack filled with snacks and drinks :))

 

 

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

yesterday, when he figured out he could spray me! cracking up!

 

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

and another, because Oh.My.Word.

 

 

a little painting time with my boys which they love - for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it  :)

a little painting time with my boys which they love – for about 15 minutes. a ton of mess and effort but worth it :)

 

 

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park - watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

this boy is serious and unwavering in his love for balls. all balls. last week, it was the basketball at the park – watched these folks mesmerized by the ball for several minutes.

 

 

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

my big boy, at the same park last week.he is fearless with slides!

 

 

*such a fun time at sweet zeke's 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

*such a fun time at sweet zeke’s 4th bday party last week. love those bigboys

 

 

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

speaking of big boys (lol), where did my baby go?!

 

 

loving our time with dear friends and their littles - the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don't sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid's behavior, etc.

loving our time with dear friends and their littles – the boys love their friends, i love my mama friends, and love the sweet learning (sharing, playing together, etc). good stuff. especially with friends who show abundant grace, don’t sweat the small stuff like messes and funky kid’s behavior, etc.

 

 

friends! super fun play time with winter last week :)

friends! super fun play time with winter last week :)

 

 

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

this day? they were driving me bonkers!! grabbing each other, hollering out for me to stop running, walk a certain direction, pick up their dropped toy etc etc etc. oh boy.

 

 

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn't at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse - typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

this picture is *huge. had to capture it to show hubby, who wasn’t at the appt. josiah is complying with the nurse – typically he *flips out. so thankful this day that he was obedient and delightful. (and this was a visit back to see the derm to get back on the high powered ointments to stop a *MAJOR* un-liveable flare for him. hate it. )

 

 

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

perhaps my FAVORITE PICTURE EVER!! taken at the jville park a couple weeks ago. LOVE them.

 

 

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

an indescribably sweet night out with a lifelong friend.

 

 

had to capture his growing hair :) it's actually much shorter and less curly than josiah's was at this age.

had to capture his growing hair :) it’s actually much shorter and less curly than josiah’s was at this age.

 

 

 

 

 

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