I Sing Because I'm Free!

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do stuff with your kids


one day I’ll look back-

grateful for the time I spent

being with my girls

I love haikus. They say a lot with few words. Sometimes lots of words make me tired, lol!

Like yesterday- for some reason I was really, really tired. I could chalk it up to the time change and still getting adjusted to that, but I was really wanting to take a nap when I got home yesterday afternoon.

And then my daughters got home. One of my girls has been begging me every day to take one of our dogs to the dog park (the other one of them is not so friendly, that’s for another post, lol…). I said earlier in the week that it would be too muddy from all the rain we have had lately- which was true. It is also true that I am tired and don’t feel like going anywhere extra once the girls get home.

She asked me again yesterday. My whole “muddy” excuse didn’t really fly after the few gorgeous, sunny days we have had here. I began to think about what a blessing it is that my 16 year old daughter really WANTS me to do something with her. I began to think about all the other things that will eventually get in the way of her time… a job, college (one day), future relationships, children… the list goes on and on. One day she will be too busy for me.

So I made an extra cup of coffee and said “Sure! Let’s go!”

Can I tell you what a joy it was for me to say yes to her?

All smiles, she was, as we got into the car with our friendly fur baby! She beamed from ear to ear the entire drive. She kept saying how she hoped there would be other dogs there that ours could be friends with. And sure enough, we pulled up to the dog park, and there were several dogs playing.

Our dog pranced around the fenced in park- reveling in his newfound freedom. I sat on a bench and watched as my daughter went up to strangers to talk to them about their dogs. I was so proud of her. She is shy and it takes a lot for her to initiate conversation with strangers, but dogs are her love language. Bring a dog around her and she can’t help but be joyful.

It was a perfect afternoon.

My other daughter asked me to do something with her today.

This time I didn’t hesitate.

I can’t wait for our afternoon together ūüôā

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court- Psalm 127:3-5

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make the time

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on a weathered

bench I play 

minutes…hours…

half a day!

How I wish 

to pause the time 

play the day away 

on this piano of mine!

Every year when the Christmas season is over, I always wish I had spent more time playing through my favorite Christmas piano books.

Not this year!

I am determined to set aside time daily to play my favorite carols.

There is something special about sitting down with a good piano book, lit by Christmas lights, and just letting my hands dance across the keys. ¬†It’s like meeting an old friend for coffee and a little conversation. ¬†The piano books come to life as I read and play and reminisce about all the years I practiced and learned to play these old songs.

The first Christmas carol I ever learned to play was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. ¬†It was from a Muppet Christmas book with Kermit the Frog on the front of it. ¬†I played and played that song so many times that I thought I’d never want to hear it again. ¬†And yet, even now, when I play it- it’s like a home movie running through my mind. ¬†I remember what the keys felt like on my old piano and I can see the dimly lit dining room where I sat as a young girl.

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I’ve still got my first Christmas piano book!

When I sit at the piano and play, I feel like a kid at Christmas again.

So, what’s that one thing that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit?¬†

Whatever it is- make time for it this year-

and DO IT!

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‚ÄúMusic is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.‚Ä̬†– Sergei Rachmaninov¬†

‚ÄúMusic is the shorthand of emotion.‚Ä̬†‚Äē Leo Tolstoy

‚ÄúMusic was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Maya Angelou

‚ÄúAfter silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Aldous Huxley

‚ÄúWhere words fail, music speaks.‚Ä̬†‚Äē Hans Christian Andersen

‚ÄúA man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‚ÄúThe music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.‚ÄĚ ¬†‚Äē Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.” – Ludwig¬†Van Beethoven

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Anticipation

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For a moment, I thought the zombie apocalypse might have come.

I had just returned home from running  a few errands, and the girls were no where to be found.  When I was out shopping, I had called both girls on their cell phones, and also tried texting them.  It was very strange for neither of them to respond to my messages.

So when I entered the house, I called their names.  There was no response.  I was a little concerned.  The dogs followed me from room to room as I looked for them.

As I entered my bedroom, I saw that all of the blinds had been raised.  The sunlight was streaming in through the windows, revealing the last of the golden leaves on the trees.

And then I heard it-

Was that really the sound of my two teenage girls outside?  laughing together? 

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I peaked outside from my bedroom window and saw both of them twirling broom sticks, throwing them in the air and laughing as they practiced together. ¬†My oldest has been in marching band for the last 2 years, and recently both girls have taken an interest in learning how to twirl flags (color guard).¬†I breathed a sigh of relief and then thanked the Lord they were enjoying one another’s company- and that they were NOT on their cell phones, arguing, ¬†or watching tv!

About a half hour later, they came inside- giggling and being silly together.

Then my oldest asked if she could use my fancy camera to take pictures. ¬†“Mom, you never even use it!”

“But you’re not going to know how to work it,” I tried to reason with her.

And sure enough, she picked it right up and clicked a few buttons and was well on her way to understanding the settings and all the other bells and whistles.

As I cooked in the kitchen, I watched Katie sneak  around on the floor- taking candid pictures of our dogs, of Sophie, and of our Christmas decorations.   And then it happened- she popped my favorite movie into our DVD player- Elf!

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It was such an awesome afternoon.

It brings me great joy in this season of motherhood any time my two teenage daughters get along and laugh together.

No arguing.  

No cell phones.  

No hiding out in bedrooms.

Just me doing mom stuff, and the girls, enjoying life together-

 anticipating all the joys of the coming holiday season.

I think Thanksgiving Eve may be my favorite day of the entire year ūüôā

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!  Psalm 27 

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nothing is ever really lost…

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My hubby and I had an impromptu date yesterday,  and we decided to walk one of the local trails.  Instead of wearing crocs with no socks (that rhymes, lol),   I took the time to put on socks and shoes-  a rare occasion it was!

We got into the car, and marveled over the crystal clear blue sky and the smell of autumn in the air.  You can just feel change coming- and we are anticipating the leaves changing any day now.

Anywho, we got out of the car, I reached for my phone in my purse, you know- the one I am addicted to?¬† and wouldn’t you know it- ¬† I couldn’t find it! Hubby could not BELIEVE that I actually left home without it.

Neither could I.

Ughh… how am I going to document this beautiful day?

Hubs handed over his phone so I could take a few pictures.

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But only a few, he said.  We need to enjoy the moment.  

And we did.

We exchanged jolly, banter back and forth- memories of years gone by, and we dreamed about our future.

I looked around as we walked, and I saw the evidence of the heavy downpours we experienced over the last few weeks- sandbags, a rushing waterfall, trenches dug for drainage.

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I saw weary mommas walking with toddlers, dog-moms walking their fur babies.

I remembered all the times I walked that trail with my own babies.  One in a backpack and the other in a stroller. Those sleepless days were sweet, but seemed like they were light years ago.

Seasons come and go so quickly!

The hubs and I ¬†had lunch together, and afterwards I scoured the house looking for my cell phone. ¬†I couldn’t find it anywhere! ¬†I wasn’t desperate to use it- just desperate to find it- because once I forget where I’ve put something, the chances are slimmer and slimmer that I will ever see it again.

On a whim, I went back to the car to check for it… and there it was in the backseat. ¬†Plain as day.

So I had my phone with me all along. ¬†I can’t remember a walk I have taken without it. ¬†And you know something-

I didn’t miss is at all!¬†

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

-L.M. Montgomery 

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ice cream is a necessity

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Since I was a kid, I have had a love affair with ice cream.

A friend through thick and thin, ice cream was always there for me in my time of need. ¬†Summer heat and need a treat? Ice cream to the rescue. ¬†Boyfriend breakup and need a pick-me-up? ¬†Ice cream always did the trick. ¬† True story… when I was in college, I noticed that the roof of my mouth began to peel. ¬†Thinking I had some sort of disease, I asked the dentist about my issue and sure enough- too much ice cream was the culprit!

Eventually, I realized that moderation was the key when it comes to enjoying my ice cream. ¬†And it’s so awesome that we have tons of great options- even for those who are watching their carbs- like Halo Top ice cream!

 

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My personal favorite- Chocolate Covered Banana ūüôā

I happened to be in the grocery store yesterday evening and like always, I bumped into someone I knew. ¬†We chatted for a few minutes and caught up on life, and then I noticed a mom and her middle school aged son hovering around the ice cream. ¬†Mom was looking for the staples- milk, eggs… while son’s eyes were glued to the hundreds of cartons of ice cream.

“Mom, WE NEED SOME ICE CREAM!”

I heard the desperation in his voice.

“Honey- we do not NEED ice cream. ¬†Now come on.”

¬†“But mom. ¬†We NEED ice cream!” ¬†A brief second later, he looked in my direction and I could see it written all over his face. ¬†He was losing hope. ¬†He needed some help.

I did what any ice cream lover would do…

I looked at the mom and smiled as I said,¬†“I have to agree with your son. ¬†Ice cream is definitely a NEED when it’s 100 degrees outside.”

The mom paused for just a second, and then gave the go ahead. ¬†Junior got him a carton of heaven… umm…I mean ice cream.

I think often about how short life is, and how we have to enjoy the little things.

Ice cream is definitely one of them.

 

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You’re Sew Vain

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My Sewing/Vanity Table 

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted an antique vanity- with a big fancy mirror, and those little drawers to put all your make up and pretty things in.¬† Unfortunately we don’t have a good place for me to put one, so I have re-purposed an old sewing table as a vanity.

Several years ago, my Granny was getting rid of things and my mom asked if I wanted Granny’s old sewing table.¬† I thought it would be neat to have, so I¬† brought it home one day.¬† It sat in our guest room downstairs for a while, and then I decided to bring it upstairs and put it in my room.¬† ¬†Now it has become my make-shift vanity.

I keep my make-up bag on top, and I have a stand up mirror that I keep on top of the desk.¬† ¬†And there are all sorts of little treasures in the side drawers…

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I find something new every time I look in these drawers! 

¬†I wonder how many times my Granny sat at this same table to sew on a button, or fix a hem?¬† Even though Granny has been gone for almost 2 years now, I think about her every day.¬† And every time one of my girls needs something hemmed- or a button repaired-¬† I go straight to this sewing table! I think to myself- “Granny to the rescue”!

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My white Easter dress 

This past Good Friday would have been Granny’s 89th birthday.¬† It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long!¬† I had a white dress to hem for Easter, so naturally I went to Granny’s old sewing table for some help. Yep-¬†Granny to the rescue, again!¬†¬†

Sure enough, there was a sturdy pair of sewing scissors in the middle drawer… and snow white thread with a spool that must have been 50 years old! And plenty of different sized sewing needles- good for every type of fabric.

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What a blessing it was for me to sit at this old table of Granny’s on her birthday, and to spend some of the day remembering her- making use of all the little treasures that are in this sewing table.¬† One of the things I loved most about Granny was that she was a good listener.¬† Sometimes when I sit there to sew, or to put on my make-up- I imagine that I’m talking to her…telling her all kinds of tales about raising my girls…and I imagine her listening intently, smiling back at me.

There is a time for everything,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and a season for every activity under the heavens…

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak-  Ecclesiastes 3 

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nailed it

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My girls introduced me to a fab new Netflix show called “Nailed It”, in which ordinary folks try their best to reproduce a gloriously decorated cupcake or cake.¬† This show is deliciously hilarious and fun to watch!

Until one of my daughters said I needed to be on it.

Ouch. 

What are you tryna say about my baking skills?!  I was immediately on the offense.

Well, you’re always subbing this for that, you use coconut flour instead of regular flour…you don’t have eggs and so you’ll put something else in it…

Okay, okay, I see…. I couldn’t deny her logic.¬† I am guilty of all that and way more in the kitchen…

And I realized in that moment how deeply rooted my desire for perfection is. So much so, that I almost missed what my daughter was actually saying to me-

Even though you are not a “baker”- you will attempt to bake ANYTHING.¬† And you don’t let it stop you if you don’t have the exact ingredients- you find a way to make it work!

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You know what is awesome about this realization?¬† That I recognized my tendency to take a comment and twist it around in my head…and that I can CHOOSE to put the brakes on those thoughts more quickly!

So this morning, I attempted to make a copycat Starbucks Lemon poundcake (low carb and sugar free, of course)¬† and I didn’t have the sweetener it called for, so I had to look up some conversion charts for the Sweet Leaf brand stevia I had… and then I used coconut flour instead of the baking blend it called for…. and coconut is a “thirsty” flour, so I only used 1/2 of what it called for and upped the amount of coconut milk I used…

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And I literally LOL’ed as I remembered my daughter’s comments about my baking tendencies…

I had to bake it for 10 minutes longer for it to set…. but I totally nailed it!¬†

He continually reminds me to stop my pursuit of perfection, and to keep pursuing Him! Oh yeah, and it’s okay to laugh at ourselves from time to time, too!

 

I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.  Philippians 3:12 

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my deeelightful breakfast!!! 

p.s.

Here’s the lemon poundcake recipe that I “loosely” followed ūüôā

https://www.nanaslittlekitchen.com/sugar-free-copycat-starbucks-lemon-loaf/

 

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One thing remains

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I think back on the days when the girls were little and I lament over how little sleep I had, and how very much I felt pulled between working part time while I stayed at home with them.¬† ¬†I remember the momma guilt I had when I hurried them to “get in the car because Mommy was going to be late again”…¬†I remember how I rushed from here to there trying to fit everything in…I also remember thinking I wasn’t doing a good enough job at everything I was trying to do.

Sometimes I wonder what they remember about their “little girl” days…

Yesterday I was blessed beyond measure.  The girls found an old camera and showed me the memory card.  They wanted me to upload all the pictures onto my computer and look at them together.

Most of them were when the girls were around 2 and 5- right in the thick of my “running around” days when I taught aerobic classes at the gym and I was also teaching music lessons.

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And the smiles I saw on the girls’ faces brought tears to my eyes.¬† Pictures- lots of them that they took themselves- perfectly documented giggly faces covered in juice, their favorite toys scattered all around the house….there were even short videos of them watching their favorite tv shows and singing the theme songs.

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As we scrolled through the pictures, I started to delete the blurry ones- and my oldest kept saying NO!¬† Every single one made her remember something special.¬† I couldn’t believe all the little details she remembered about those years.¬† Every toy and dollhouse, every outfit and accessory she wore.

And all I could see was the joy in their eyes.

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Maybe I was a little too hard on myself all those years ago-¬†because yesterday, as we looked back on those pictures, I didn’t think about anything other than how precious my girls are and how very much I loved my babies!¬†¬†Looking at those pictures made me really missed those days.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

1 Corinthians 13:13

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Christmas Dishes

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I was feeling a little melancholy the other day as I was fixing a day-after Thanksgiving meal for the 4 of us.  Now that the girls are getting older, holidays just feel different.   I miss the girls being little and wanting to spend time with me.   I miss the excitement of Santa and long toy lists and just the sheer giddiness that exudes from children this time of year.

As I was cooking dinner, my oldest came out of “hiding” (she spends lots of time in her room now) and she asked me about what sorts of traditions I did with my family as a kid.

Did you have lots of Christmas decorations when you were little?

I remembered the¬†glass candle globes with holly berries around them that we placed on our coffee table and dining room table.¬† And we always hung mistletoe in the hallway.¬† And there were these Christmas dishes…

Wait a minute- you had Christmas dishes?  For some reason, that piqued her interest.

Actually, I have them somewhere in the garage packed away. 

And like that, my oldest daughter was a giddy child on a mission to find them.

I went to the garage with her, and we dug through several bins looking for them.  Lo and behold- we found the magic tub filled with the Christmas dishes.

“I can’t believe you never told us about these!”

I helped her bring the tub upstairs, and then I watched as she took out every piece and neatly stacked it on the kitchen counter.¬† She snapped a picture of the dishes to send to her friend. “It doesn’t take much to make me excited!” She grinned from ear to ear as she sent her friend a text with the picture of the treasure she found in the garage.

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Why have we never used these?!”¬† she asked me.

“I didn’t want to take the chance of breaking them when you girls were younger.”¬† And that was the honest truth.¬† I remember my aunt got us those dishes for Christmas when I was really young, and they were special to me.

I told her if she wanted us to use the dishes then she needed to hand wash all of them.  She happily obliged, and then she set the table for our day-after-Thanksgiving meal with our fancy Christmas dishes.

And as we ate together as a family that evening, I was filled with joy.¬† Something as simple as eating on a plate with a Christmas tree used to make me so excited as a kid!¬† Knowing that those same¬†dishes brought the same joy to my daughter’s face that day overwhelmed my heart with gladness.

And just like that- something old that had been packed away years ago became new again…and a new family tradition has begun!

    Old things have disappeared, and look! all things have become new!            

     2 Corinthians 5:17

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just because

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don’t need a reason

don’t need a holiday

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don’t need a million dollars¬†

or a firework display

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don’t need much¬†

but one thing is true 

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it’s the little things¬†

that make me love you 

My hubby and I have never been big gift-givers.  He has surprised me with the occasional big gift for my birthday or Christmas, but really what means the most are the little things.

Like the other day.

We were walking through a store and there was an unusually large display of gorgeous roses.¬† While my daughter was admiring them,¬† I noticed my husband turn to look at the roses and he lingered for a moment…

“Babe, how about you pick out one of these bouquets?”

I love flowers.

I am also frugal.

And I know that flowers have a short shelf-life, which also makes me think that it’s not something I really need to spend money on…

But in that moment, God knew exactly what I needed.

Over that last week I allowed myself to feel like a failure… as a mom, as a wife… a failure at whatever it was that I was doing.¬† I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough.¬† It was all in my head, but that little lie raged inside of me.¬† I tried to fight it all week.¬† I read scriptures,¬† prayed, did all the things I knew to do and yet it was still there and I couldn’t escape that feeling that I was worthless.

But in my husband’s eyes I was worthy of those flowers…just because he loves me. In fact, it meant more to me because it was spontaneous and not because it was a special occasion.

And this week, God has used those beautiful roses to remind me of His perfect love for me, too.  He is right on time, every time!  Every time I have walked into the living room, those roses have made me smile.

He loves me just because.  And so does my husband.

In fact, there isn’t anything I could do to make Him love me more!

He loves me for who I am in Him, not for what I do! 

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¬†For it is by grace¬†you have been saved,¬†through faith‚ÄĒand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God‚ÄĒ¬†not by works,¬†so that no one can boast.¬† ¬† Ephesians 2:8-9

 

 

 

 

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