I’m Pretty Well Covered, Thanks!

I almost didn’t write a post this week.

Until, when I left the grocery store tonight, a man blessed me.

I wondered…Why?

Post ideas flittered through my head all weekend, but nothing stuck. I knew I could pull some pre-written, partially complete posts and finish them, but they weren’t pulling at my heart at the moment.

I actually started thinking, Maybe I could just skip this week. I don’t know how many people are regularly reading these posts, so a missed post would likely not be noticed. Not that I’m complaining, because I started this blog to keep myself on track. But…it would be nice to know I’m not alone. That there are other parents out there whose kids know how to push their buttons…and often…and we’re doing our best not to regularly lose it. That maybe my experiences and observations struck someone else in a similar way. Even that they were able to look at things differently.

I wondered, Would anyone know that I didn’t write a new post?

20 - blessed

I did a lot this weekend…physically. Hauled sand bags, replaced sand in the sandbox, weeded, planted flowers, sanded and stained a desk, painted and upholstered an ottoman, set up the sprinkler for the boys (and ran through it with them!), picked raspberries, had lots of time outside under the hot sun.

It felt good. To be outside, to get a lot done. But my bones were weary. My mind wanted to do more – like write my weekly post – but I wasn’t sure my body would make it. I knew as soon as I stopped moving, my body would say, Thank you, good night.

And it did. As soon as I lay next to my youngest for story time, I knew this week’s post would have to wait.

Before story time, there was Destination: Grocery Store. It was necessary, despite my exhaustion. No milk or bread will do that.

This man spoke to me, waving, as we passed each other through the automatic IN and OUT doors. “God bless you, Maam,” he said.

What motivated him to do that? Did I look totally stressed out? Or bone-weary tired? Or did his own blessed day inspire him to pass it on? Or does he do that to everyone, everywhere, every day?

When I sat in my driver’s seat, I realized I didn’t answer him other than smile. What would I have said if I’d had more time…if he hadn’t caught me off guard?

I thought about it, then felt what was in my heart: “He already has!”

     From the fullness of his grace
we have all received one
blessing after another.
                                       John 1:16

I am so incredibly blessed. Two amazing boys I adore. A hard-working husband who loves us dearly. Family nearby that are very involved grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Friends I can always count on. A good-paying job with flexibility to balance family life, too. A lovely place to call home. A healthy mind and body that keeps moving. Food in my belly. And a God who has given me so much.

This weekend was proof of my blessings. The boys played well together, the sun was shining, we enjoyed cookouts and dinner outside, movie night with popcorn. I tossed normal bedtime out the window as we sat by the campfire and shared a box of M&M’s. It was peaceful and relaxing (in spite of the hard work).

So while we normally have an automatic response to someone blessing us by returning the same words without even thinking, I’m glad this stranger caused me to stop and really consider those words. And discover a new answer.

Thanks for the reminder, sir. While I would never turn down a blessing, you can have some from me. I’m pretty filled up right now.

And to anyone reading these posts, tagging along with me on this journey…may God bless YOU – truly!

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I Need My Step Stool!

I wish my toddler would stop growing.

I was watching him tonight pull his step stool to the sink so he could brush his teeth. He has to stretch his toes to reach the faucet.

And I thought to myself, Please don’t get any bigger. He’s at this sweet stage right now, where his pudgy little body still fits on my hip, his hand can wrap around my one finger, and his eyes light up when he sees something new. I’m not ready for him to grow up more.

But I am ready for this journey of mine to…GET A MOVE ON!

19 - step stool

This blog started with my journey to a yell-free home. I hated the loud voice that kept showing up in frustration, and felt I had to change. Writing about it has been my method of accountability and means for improvement.

Like my toddler, I’ve been using steps along the way to help reach my goal. Recognizing my triggers and avoiding them. Using new tricks to keep the boys from arguing. Planning fun things to prevent their boredom.

I reach for my goal daily, but there are times it feels like I haven’t gotten very far. Once in a while, the step stool gets kicked out from beneath me.

Makes me wonder if this goal is even possible. Worthy? Yes! But is it possible?

As it says in the book of Matthew, “With God, all things are possible.”

Here I am stretching myself as tall as I can to be the super-patient, never-failing, wise mom I have in my head…wishing she’d show up already…and I’ve been forgetting that I need to rely on God to get me there, not my step stools.

And it won’t happen overnight. It will likely take longer than I wish.

     But do not forget this one thing,
dear friends: With the Lord a day
is like a thousand years, and a
thousand years are like a day.
                                       2 Peter 3:8

His time is not the same as mine. But just like my toddler will reach new heights when the time is right, I’ll get there when it’s time. Because He knows when that is, and He will help get me there.

Dear God, I promise to use YOU as my step stool…if you promise to get me there in fewer than a thousand years. Deal?

No deals, just faith! 🙂

Dear Heaven-Kept Child…

Sold the crib today.

It reminded me that I’m officially not having more children.

It also reminded me that I actually had three, not two.

Trying to get pregnant is exhausting! You do silly things despite the fact that they’re complete myths. Get those legs up, can’t hurt to use a little gravity – don’t go to the bathroom right away, gotta give it some time – should we be active 3 days in a row or every other day?

Wanting a sibling for our son was what kept my hopes up during that year and a half of trying. And finally seeing those two pink lines washed a load of worry off my shoulders.

But it wasn’t to be.

18 - heaven child_pinterest

A miscarriage is not something talked about without sorrow. For some, it’s not talked about at all. I was amazed that almost every woman I shared my loss with confessed a similar experience. It’s more frequent than we think, so please don’t ever feel like you’re alone.

When I experienced this loss, I could have been angry, but I wasn’t. And certainly not at God. In fact, a large part of me was grateful to him. Grateful that he saved my child from unforeseen suffering had it not been able to develop fully. I thanked him for saving me and my husband from facing an even greater heartbreaking situation. I was comforted that he saved my child from experiencing pain or heartache.

But mostly, I was just sad. Incredibly, heart-heavy sad. This sadness was caused by 3 troubling thoughts.

I will never meet this child. A part of me and my husband helped create this new person. And I would never get to meet him or her. Never hear this child’s laughter or voice, feel a little hand on my arm, look into the eyes of a new soul. But I should specify this to say “here on earth.” If you haven’t read Heaven is for Real, I highly recommend it. Especially for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage. I truly believe it is proof that we will meet these heaven-kept children again. And when I meet my child, he or she will be more than just a several-week old baby from inside my womb. I will meet a little person, as he or she was intended to be. And I will ask to hear about the gift of a life in heaven.

I don’t know if you were a boy or girl. Our loss occurred at 11 ½ weeks. Far enough along to think we were in the clear, but not able to know gender. But I will…someday. Sometimes I picture the girl I had been dreaming to know, find out if she has dark hair like me, green eyes like her dad, and if her heart and mind are strong like I would have hoped. Other days I picture another boy as individual and independent as his brother, see what makes his sweet face different, and wonder what the musketeers would be like.

How long will I have to wait? It is draining and can push hope to your boundaries…waiting to see those two pink lines. I didn’t want to go through it again. It took a year and a half to get pregnant with my first-born, the same amount of time with this second. How long would it take the next time? I worried it might not happen at all. What if the pink lines would never show again? No sibling for my beloved son was another potential loss that was heavy on my heart.

     A woman giving birth to a child
     has pain because her time has come;
but when her baby is born, she
forgets the anguish because of her
joy that a child is born into the world.
                                       John 16:21

Although I didn’t experience the pain of delivering this child, I also didn’t have the joy of meeting this new little one. But I do have joy…in knowing that the life God gave us is sitting next to Jesus in heaven, full of bliss and comfort.

“Until we meet, my little one…please lay a blanket out next to you. Save us all a spot. Because in addition to me and your Dad, there are your two brothers to meet.”

The Lord hath taken away, but the Lord gives, too. He answered our prayers for another child. And although the wait was long again, I kept faith, I never stopped hoping. So keep your faith, your hope. All things are possible with Him.

And if your prayers for another child are never answered, know that your heaven-kept child is waiting to meet you. Perhaps ours are sitting together with Jesus now! 🙂

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From Party-Pooper to Strawberry-Picker

I can be a big drag.

My efforts to avoid conflict, wasting money, and extra work ends up sucking the fun out of things.

  • When hubby suggests ordering pizza…We shouldn’t eat out. I just went to the grocery store.
  • When the boys start wrestling…Stop! Someone’s going to get hurt.
  • When the boys want to make a fort in the living room…I just cleaned up. Can’t we leave it this way for 30 minutes?

Why am I such a party pooper? The voice of responsibility in my brain is serious. A little too serious.

I don’t want to be remembered for this…pooping on everyone’s parade. Who would? But it’s an important job, and I have no volunteers at my house. 🙂


I finally rifled through the papers from the last day of school. Yes, they’ve been on my kitchen table all this time. No, I’m not nearly this disorganized in real life. Oh, this is real life. Well, my party-pooping responsibility gene does not exclude procrastination. I also blame it on an endless to-do list.

I tossed most of the expired papers aside – guess I missed that field trip – good score on that test – note to self: need to work on his writing this summer –totally forgot about that reading log!

Then, I found my Mother’s Day gift. Shoot! Better work on his organization, too. I read through the writings.

  • My Mom taught me…how to walk when I was a baby.
  • My Mom made me giggle when…she tickled me.
  • My Mom is special because…she is the best mom in the world. Awww!
  • My Mom is happiest…when we clean.

Wait – back up! Mom is happiest when we clean? Uh-oh! Something needs to change.

There’s always a need to clean, plan, schedule, do bills, check emails, follow-up on stuff, make lists. For example, how bad is it that my to-do list has a task for making another to-do list? 🙂 Our summer bucket list, to be exact – strawberry picking included. I had been trying to find a date that would work, and the season was nearing its end.

I’m endlessly trying to tackle the to-do list. I know I won’t ever lose the responsible side of me, taking care of our family and home. But sometimes, I want to be the spontaneous mom, the fun mom, the let’s-go-strawberry-picking-mom!

Which I was just last week. The day was hot. The kids were bored. They needed a distraction. I could see tempers rising with the heat index. The kind of situation where the mood can change, and frustration is just over the horizon. Which I’m trying to avoid with my crusade for a yell-free home.

A breakdown was on its way, I just knew it. Probably mine. It was 4:30. A local farm was open until 6:30. I suddenly announced, “We’re going strawberry picking, boys!”

We rushed to search for old clothes and shoes. My oldest didn’t complain once that his unmatched outfit looked strange. I’ve never seen my toddler find his shoes faster (he prefers bare toes). We tossed ourselves in the hot car, blasted the air conditioning, grabbed fast food, and drove west. No one complained the drive took too long. My toddler ate his entire cheeseburger. My oldest ate too fast, and his stomach hurt, but he refused to let me turn around.

This idea could go bad, I thought. But I didn’t stress about behavior or boredom or complaints. What happened would happen.

What happened was…the Best. Day. Ever!

They were angels. My son picked almost as many berries as I did. My youngest even helped, though he ate just about as much. I teased him that we would need to put him on the scale to pay for the ones in his belly. No one stepped on the plants. No one picked the wrong berries. No one complained.

After filling our baskets, the boys walked halfway down the row to the water cooler – holding hands. Where is a camera when you need one? If they could implant a camera in my brain that I could just click with the blink of my eyes, I would totally consider that! 🙂

A woman noticed, “Now, that’s a really good big brother,” she said. I gushed pride. He is a great big brother. They returned together, my little one still pouring water into his mouth, my oldest carrying a cool drink for me without being asked. Life is good, I thought.

On the wagon ride back to the check-out, I felt blessed. Holding my two boys who build a brotherly bond stronger each day. Enjoying the late evening sun on my face, small fingers playing with my hair, and another’s hand on my knee. We searched for butterflies, and reported the flower colors we saw in the fields. We guessed at what was growing in the new rows. We awed at how big the tractor tires were.

     So I commend the enjoyment of life,
     because there is nothing better for
a person under the sun than to eat
and drink and be glad. Then joy will
accompany them in their toil all the
days of the life God has given to them
under the sun. 

                                       Ecclesiastes 8:15

On the way home, everyone was hungry again. A happy, outdoor afternoon can do that, I guess. So we stopped at a drive-in. It was new to us. We sat at an outdoor picnic table with a giant checkerboard painted on top and hockey-puck sized pieces. What genius came up with this, I wondered? We played while waiting for our food.

I realized I can be both moms. The sensible one who needs to keep order in the house and teach her kids responsibility along the way, and the fun mom who can be spontaneous and let go once in a while.

At the table, my oldest confessed.

  • [Him: My shirt, shoes, and shorts look pretty funny.]
  • [Me: Does that bother you?]
  • [Him: No.]
  • [Him: Sometimes it’s okay when things aren’t so perfectly planned.]
  • [Him: Yeah. Today was perfect, though.]
  • [Me: What made it perfect?]
  • [Him: We got to pick berries, we found this new restaurant, you taught me checkers, it’s still sunny out…]
  • [Me: I agree. This is a great day.]
  • [Him: And this is the BEST cheeseburger I’ve ever had in my LIFE!]

Funny how things are a little sweeter when unexpected. It can be small acts like I shared in my post about using a big bowl. Or it can be a little bigger like this road trip to the farm. Either way, spontaneity can add the spice life needs. And remind us to enjoy it. Especially for this chronic party pooper.

Note to self: Plan more unscheduled fun in our future! They may end up being the best days ever!

Busy-Mom Confession: After looking at the Mother’s Day gift more closely, I realized it belonged to another student in my son’s class. See, that organization thing needs work. I left this post as is, though, because I’m sure the cleaning comment could have easily been about me. Good to know I’m not the only Mom guilty of such things! I wonder if she’s been strawberry-picking yet. 🙂

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