Standing in the kitchen doing bad yoga poses while waiting for the tea kettle to whistle. Staring at the tips of my fingers because the rest of the room seems to be spinning. And my brother finding me there later that night, legs pulled up staring at my bare feet on the ugly tile. I know I went in there for a reason but I can’t think of what it was when he asks. It’s where I do my best thinking though, so it only makes sense that it is there that  I find the strength to message her. I pray she hears the heart behind those words and I go to bed. 

My oldest is up sick… sweating and shaking and I eventually give up on sleep and hold her till she is better and sleeping. It’s the warmest night we have had in weeks but I am cold. Deep down cold. Socks and sweat pants and two blankets can’t stop the shaking. 

In the morning things seem less scary. As my brother put it, I no longer hear the things going bump in the night. I light a candle because it seems right and I breathe prayers all day, silently and aloud, alone and with a friend. 

She sends a text message... she is home and ready to rest. We send our love and breath just a touch easier for now. 

There are moments where it feels as though life should stand still.... but children get sick and need tending, and babies get hungry and need nursing, and dishes get dirty and need cleaning, and shoes come untied and need tying, and little ones grow up into big ones with tie shoes and pony tails and life goes on and this is both wildly unsettling and wholly comforting all at the same time.


All That Matters


I am pretty sure we all shed tears today.

Over reading home work.

Over nap times.

Over the inability to crawl. 

Over other people's pain.

Over head aches.

Over teething.

Over our own restlessness. 

But in the end we are all here.

And all together.

And all healthy. 

And that's all that matters. 


Working on Me (or how I fight against feeling overwhelmed)

Anyone who knows me personally (or has even just talked to me over facebook) can probably tell you that I tend toward anxiety. I get overwhelmed, over excited, and over stimulated very easily. I am not sure how I have been like this, but I know it goes back to at least college if not high school or younger. I wish I would say it get’s better with age, but it seems to be getting more and more pronounced.  The worst part? I see the same tendencies in my oldest. Abi is overwhelmed and spins out of control. In a letter I wrote to her on her 6th birthday I promised that, in order to help her learn coping techniques I would first work on finding some for myself. 

One of the things that send both of us into a full blown melt down is a messy house/bedroom. She doesn’t particular care if her room is a mess but if I ask her to clean it she is a puddle, and (though she doesn’t realize it) she is far calmer and centered when her room isn’t in chaos. For both of us the problem comes when things are so out control that the thought of even starting feels insurmountable. So, I thought I would share three tricks that are working for us. 

*Tea Kettle Timer: there are times when tackling the entire house just isn’t an option. It may be too late at night, or I’m not feeling well, or I am trying to fit a shower and rest time and cleaning into nap time, whatever the reason I just can’t think about trying to clean EVERYTHING! When that is the case my best course of action is to put the tea kettle on and work till it whistles. Most of the time I end up working in the kitchen doing dishes ect, but other times I will pick up the living room, or fold some laundry, or clean a bathroom. If I am almost finished with my task when the kettle whistles then I will finish it up while my tea steeps. Once my tea is steeped I’m done. I stop cleaning and sit down and enjoy my tea. It helps me stay productive with our working myself up into a major stress. Today I am battling a massive head ache for the third day in a row. I knew if I did nothing but veg all day I would feel a lot of guilt, but I also knew trying to tackle a lot was a bad idea for many reasons. So I put on the kettle, cleaned the kitchen, then sat down with my tea and started writing this post!

*15 Minutes: When my motivation is low, or I can’t figure out where to even begin, or it’s so hot the thought of cleaning all day makes me want to melt I set my timer for 15 minutes. I pick a task, any task and simply throw myself into it for 15 minutes. Some days when my brain just isn’t working I will even do this for writing. In the summer time when the heat is at it’s worst I will often stop when the timer goes off, drink a glass of cold water and let myself rest for 15 minutes while I sit in front of the fan. More often than not however once I get started I can find the gumption to keep going so the timer is set for another 15 minutes. Sometimes a friend and I will text each other, set our timers together and work for 15 minutes. At the end we check back in and share what we got done. The accountability is great! This also helps my kiddos with cleaning or really ANY task. Cleaning their entire room is tantrum inducing. Picking up for 15 minutes and then getting to read a book with Mom is a GREAT way to make a task feel manageable. Sometimes we even use this to STOP behavior. I.E. turn the TV off for 15 minutes, look at books quietly for 15 minutes, play outside for 15 minutes.  

*One Task/Ten Things: The other thing that works great for me and the kiddos is the “one task” or “ten things” approach. Instead of asking them to “clean their room” I ask them each to either tackle one task “pick up all the books” or “put away all the dolls”. The other thing we do is to each pick up x number of items. Pick up and put away ten, or 15, or 6 items. It breaks it down into manageable size jobs for them and keeps it kind of fun. Truth be told I do it for myself as well some times. Before going to bed I will stop and pick up and put away ten items, or collect all the dishes or trash that have scattered across my house during the day. 

I realize none of these are new ideas, and that a simple search of pinterest would probably provide this ideas and a dozen or more others. But I wanted to share what works for us because I promised Abi I would work on me, and sometimes working on ourselves means allowing for accountability and transparency.


Look Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back 

I keep trying to write a "Year in Review" post. For whatever reason it just hasn't been easy. I am not sure why. It's just hasn't been flowing. So, what do I do when my brain isn't working creatively?

I makes lists...

I will remember 2013 as the year...

* Tacy was born
*Josh and I celebrated 7 years of marriage and...
*Did something we had been talk about for 8 years and went on a cruise
*Abi started Kindergarten
*Maddie started pre-school
*Fletcher, Emily, and Ezra moved back to VA and into our basement
*We learned the reality and beauty of doing life with some other people in a intimate some times messy way
*Tuesday Coffee Dates with three women I consider to be among my dearest friends
*Aunt Lila Died
*Stephen Died
*Blu Died
*We received far to many text messages about loved ones in the hospital 
*I put myself out there and got to reap the rewards of taking a chance
*We asked ourselves hard questions about who we were as a couple and a family and who we wanted to be and where we were going
*We made it out a live. Tired, weary, a little tender in places, but alive and excited for 2014.

 Looking Forward

So far I haven't really made any "Resolutions" for 2014. I am sure they may come, but at the moment I am focusing more on the projects I am pursuing this year as well as fleshing out my word for 2014 and how it will look to live that out. 
So far we are only six days into 2014 and have been faced with some interesting opportunities. So far nothing I am ready to discuss but let's just say if this year is trying to make a good first impression it is doing a remarkable job.