holding on

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My girls aren’t little anymore.

Overnight, it seems like the playroom has become a museum- frozen back in a time when the girls pretend played for hours on end with their Barbie dolls.  Doll clothing and toy pieces still litter the floor.

There’s a part of me that wants the playroom to stay that way forever so I can remember it all… their excited giggles, the singing, and the not-so-quiet sound of toys being tossed around.

I feel like my “mom life” is in a bit of a transition.  I don’t write about it as much as I used to, because those cute moments don’t come as often.  And as I watch my coming-of-age daughters try to navigate life, I’m still finding my own way as a mom.   It is WAY harder than I ever thought it would be.

I told the girls recently that they needed to clean the playroom and get rid of some of their dolls and toys.  We don’t need all that stuff down there anymore- I tried to reason with them.

But my oldest looked at me in utter disbelief…

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Mom!!  You are NOT giving away my whole childhood!  You just can’t do that! 

How long has it been since you actually played with those Barbies??  I tried to reason with her.

Umm… just a few weeks ago- she sheepishly admitted to me.   

And then I smiled. I might have even teared up a little bit.

Just when I thought I was having a hard time letting go of my girls being little girls– I see they’re not ready to let go either.

We’re all holding on.

Hold on to what is good-

1 Thessalonians 5:21

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“Sometimes you will never know the value of something,

until it becomes a memory.” – Dr Seuss 

seasons in between

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I walked to the beat 

of falling leaves 

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beneath my feet 

leaves thick as thieves

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I watched the foliage 

drift and sway 

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on this breezy, balmy

autumn day 

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I wanted to hit the pause button again this morning. This is my favorite time of year… that time when we are still full with Thanksgiving JOY and yet we anticipate all the excitement the Christmas Season brings!!   And secretly, I wish I could hoard pumpkin spice EVERYTHING so that I could savor it a bit longer…

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Speaking of this in-between season, I’ve got a ‘tween at home…  She marches to her own beat, and I honestly don’t know what’s going to come out of her mouth from moment to moment.  A strong willed child, she’s also a delightful mix of sarcasm, humor and wit.  Her name is “Sophia” which actually means wisdom.

I was out running errands with both girls the other day, and my oldest commented that I’m getting old.  My jaw dropped as I turned to her with a look of disbelief that she would say such a horrid thing!

Well, I guess there’s a little bit of truth to that- I will hit the big 4-0 in June….ugghh….

Without skipping a beat, my youngest chimes in with her words of wisdom- “Mom, I like that you’re getting older- it means your more experienced!”

My heart warmed just a little bit as I turned to look at her lovingly.  “Soph, that’s so sweet!”

“Well, I just said it to make you feel better.  You ARE old!”

Sigh.   

But then, just a few days later, she surprised me again…

I went to my favorite grocery store the other day- Trader Joe’s.  If you’ve never been- you are missing out.  I love everything about this place!  The employees treat me like a long, lost friend- always eager to chit-chat and offer suggestions of new things to try.  I was desperate, I mean DESPERATE for more Pumpkin Spice k-cups, but, alas, they were all out.

At check out, the cashier asked me if I found everything I was looking for.  I told him how I wanted more Pumpkin Spice coffee.  We both commiserated over the ending of the “pumpkin season”,  and he shed an imaginary tear with me.

Then my  daughter piped up-

“But Mom, it wouldn’t be as special if you had it all the time!” 

So true.

Which reminds me to treasure those special days with these girls… because just like pumpkin spice- they are only young for a “season”!

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” – L.M. Montgomery 

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A baker’s dozen

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My oldest just turned 13.  I can hardly STAND it! A teenager *gasp*!!

I remember turning 13 like it was yesterday.

I was painfully shy and tall.  I wanted more than anything to hide from everyone and fade into the background.  But as I navigated those awkward years, I learned to stand tall.

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My oldest- hiding from me a she tries out her new bike. 

I see so much of myself in my oldest daughter. As soon as she sees a camera- she runs, turns her head, and does anything she can to hide her lovely face.

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Like her last band concert…I chuckled as I watched her slowly move the music stand with her foot until it blocked me from seeing her face as I sat in the audience.

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I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I eventually found my “voice” and I stopped hiding. Singing in chorus was the one thing that gave me the confidence to be myself.  It was a place where I found community, friendship, and a group of peers that finally accepted me.  It was the first place where I wasn’t afraid to shine.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
  Matthew 5:15

As a mom, it’s my job to stand tall and to help my girls find the things that they are good at!  It’s my job to encourage them and to help them be more self-confident- so they can find their unique “voice” and shine bright in this world.

And on those days when I am feeling less than confident, I know I can run straight into the arms of my Heavenly Father, for in my weakness He is strong!

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My oldest… resting on her Daddy’s shoulders 🙂 

And when my girls need a little pep-talk,  I pray that God will equip me and give me the right words to point them to the Son-the ultimate source of my strength and light!

Keep me as the apple of the eye;

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings – Psalm 17:8

I’m not a pirate, but I do wear a patch

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My girls and I… 7 years ago 

I dreamed the other night that I had another baby. It was one of those dreams that seemed so real. I was sitting in a nursery rocking a baby girl. The colors were muted gray- like I was in a still-frame picture. In the dream, I knew this was my third baby- a surprise.  I felt a flood of emotions- exactly how I felt all those years ago when I held my first baby.  A hormonal mess… and yet everything was perfect.

When I woke up, it hit me that I am no longer that same woman I was then.  I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago. After struggling for years with pain, unexplained bleeding, and extreme PMS- I tried everything I could to alleviate my growing list of symptoms.  What was once a week of misery slowly turned into non-stop discomfort.   After exhausting all other options, the only thing left was a hysterectomy.

We had decided years ago that we were finished having children.  Both of my pregnancies were difficult- both emotionally and physically.  I had unexplained bleeding throughout both pregnancies- leaving me in a state of constant worry and fear.  Pregnancy- the thing I dreamed of for so long- was not at all the joyful experience I had hoped for.  After being blessed with two healthy girls, we knew that our family was complete.

As strong as my desire was to have a baby all those years ago-I prayed for God to take away my desire to ever have a third one.  I knew I didn’t want to go through the stress of being pregnant again, and we felt that our family was complete.

So when my doctor approached me about having a hysterectomy, I prayed about it.  And one morning, I heard Him tell me “it’s time”…it was time for a fresh start.  It had gotten so bad that I had a hard time getting out of bed most days.  Pain, PMS, and an onslaught of other symptoms continued to snowball out of control.

The surgery was a success.  I was in some mild pain for a few weeks, but nothing I couldn’t manage. I also had my ovaries removed due to severe PMS, so I wear an estrogen patch.

The patch definitely has it’s downfalls. I am supposed to change it every 3rd and 4th day, wreaking havoc on my (already) forgetful brain.  If I am a day late changing my patch, I experience the same hormonal shifts that I did pre-surgery.  I have also noticed a difference between generic and name brand patches.  I have had to try a few in order to find one that worked for me.

I am 100%  happy with my decision to have had the surgery- even though I have some minimal challenges with using a patch.  It was definitely the best decision for me.

But for some reason, after having that dream the other night- it hit me that I will never again feel those flutters in my belly… that I will never again nurse a baby… and after mourning the loss of something I had long ago made final in my heart and mind- I finally felt closure on that chapter in my life.

A simple dream awakened within me all the lovely things I had forgotten about my babies, allowing me to finally come to terms with a new stage in my momma journey-

the TEEN years!

My oldest will be 13 in a couple of weeks, and I’m buckling up for this bumpy new ride!

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my soon-to-be teenager!

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and my youngest 🙂 

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.  

Psalm 127:3

 

Back in my day…

back in my day

“Back in MY day…”

Yesterday I had the joy of sharing one of those “back in my day” stories with my daughters…

While I was looking through some pictures from a trip my husband and I took to Paris-B.C. (before children), I found something from my childhood that I have been looking for for years!

When I was about 10 years old, I wanted a tape recorder for Christmas.  I remember the day I got that red tape recorder and a set of blue “k-mart special” blank tapes, and it was the best present ever!  My sister and I spent countless hours recording ourselves singing and recording songs off of the radio.

Imagine my delight when I found one of those k-mart tapes last night in the box with my old pictures! It was like Christmas all over again!  I patiently waited until the next morning to play it in my mini-van… (yes, we have probably one of the last mini-vans to have a cassette player in it!)

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best.gift.ever!!!!!!

I carefully slid the tape into the tape deck, not even sure if it would still play- but sure enough, I heard the crackly sound of the tape loud and clear.  It was like going back in time 28 years… I heard snippets of songs we recorded from the radio while we played in the background… then my sister and I sang our little hearts out.  We sang “The Greatest Love of All” in perfect unison, a cappella- and the sound was eerily familiar.  It could have easily been my own two girls belting out that tune.  My sister and I sounded just like my girls!

When my girls got into the van with me, I had to explain what we were listening to.

“Back in my day, we didn’t have cell phones with video recorders… or cd’s or youtube or iPods… We had to make “mix tapes”.  We had to actually *gasp*  wait for our favorite song to come on the radio and then time it just right to record it on our cassette tape.  Then we had to be really, really quiet so that we couldn’t hear ourselves on the tape.”

They looked at me like I was an alien. They were not impressed.

We continued to listen to the tape, and I had to stifle my laughter as I heard my sister and I telling each other “Shhh!!!”.  And then we couldn’t help ourselves… as soon as the chorus to a song we were trying to record came on, we belted it out.  The funny part was that we never, ever knew the words to the verses- we just made them up.

And while I was deep in nostalgic thought, listening to my childhood mix-tape, my own girls were bickering and belting out their own favorite tunes in the back of our mini van…

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

 

be a trend-setter

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It’s ok to be a trend-setter 

a goldenrod go-getter 

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Show your true colors

let your dead leaves fall 

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It’s ok to be a trail-blazer

a “shoot for the stars”-gazer

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come on, light up the world 

and give Him your all

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As I went on a walk on this loverly fall evening, I noticed the leaves are FINALLY starting to change. One tree at a time is bursting forth in heavenly color- paving the way for the rest of them …which made me think about my daughters.

Each girl has their own unique style. My youngest is “sporty” and loves to wear mix-matched socks- the crazier the better.  My oldest daughter is a “girly-girl” and likes to accessorize every outfit- fancy or casual- with a scarf. I am trying to encourage them to be themselves- to not get so caught up in what their friends are wearing and doing…for them to know that it’s ok to be different.

One day we were walking through the mall and my girls were talking to me about recent fashion trends.

“I just heard someone say that “fringe” is in. I think fringe is disgusting!” one daughter says to the other.

“Umm… especially armpit fringe.  That’s just the worst!” says my youngest, as she pointed at a shirt in the store’s window display as we were leaving- all decked out in fringe.  The fringe started right at the armpit and went all the way down the sides of the shirt.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of armpit fringe.  It seems these girls already recognize that following a “trend” isn’t always the thing to do.

Be yourself.  And who knows- you just might start your own trend!

He has made every thing beautiful in his time- Ecclesiastes 3:11

childhood dreams

photo 5 My oldest “dreamer”- looking out over the sea

i had to catch 

my breath, as i

gazed into 

your azure eyes-

a thousand times

i dreamed of you 

and all my hopes

you would out-do 

i remember well- 

the very first day

i gently rocked 

your cries away

i held you close 

and breathed you in 

that was the moment

i could never begin

to imagine life

without you

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires Psalm 37:4

With great joy, I am watching my girls grow into independent young ladies. While they are still young in many ways, at times they impress me with their insight and words of wisdom.  Recently, they asked me what I used to want to be when I grew up.  I told them I dreamed of doing all sorts of things- a news reporter, a singer, a mother, a teacher…

Katie’s eyes lit up, and with a smile-she said “You know what, Mom?  You ARE all those things!”  

I thought about it for a second. I have a teaching degree in music, I’ve taught voice and piano lesson, and now I am a worship pastor….but a reporter?  Surely I was missing something

Puzzled, I said “Well, I’ve never been a news reporter.” 

“Sure you are!  You do the announcements at church, “ Katie answered me matter of factly. 

I smiled at her.  Sometimes kids have the coolest way of seeing things, and they have the ability to shed light on our lives in ways we never could. Not in a thousand years would I have thought that yes– He did, in fact, allow all of my childhood dreams come true…

it’s all about perspective!

 Open my eyes to see…   Psalm 119:18

My not-so-Martha Stewart “silk tie-dyed” eggs…

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Our bird’s nest from last year!

I am definitely not the most creative mom on the planet.

But, I do try to do fun things with the girls.

Around Easter time, we do little things like bake bunny cakes and we have mini Easter egg hunts.  It’s those fun little traditions that will make great memories for them when they are adults.

This year, I took a stab at dying eggs with silk ties.  Yes, it sounds a little strange, but it was also another great opportunity to go thrift-store shopping to find some super awesome ties to use for our little project!

So we tugged and pulled the ties apart…

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while my youngest patiently (not) waited for the scissors to cut her ties…

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and then we wrapped them with tender loving care…

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Oh no…I forgot the twist ties to secure the material around the egg! So I used mini rubber bands instead…

Epic fail

I ended up fishing for broken rubber bands in the boiling water…

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And burned my fingers replacing the broken mini rubber bands with clamps and fabric coated rubber bands. We let them boil for 20 minutes and then allowed them to cool for a bit.

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I must say that the colors were slightly disappointing, but it could have been because I didn’t secure the fabric as well as I should have, and it would have been better if the silk ties we purchased had been darker, more vibrantly colored…

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But my oldest daughter said it all with this comment-

“Momma- they didn’t really come out that good.  But I think we had a lot of fun anyway!”

That’s my girl!

There is much JOY to be found in the JOurneY!!

 Just because someone else can do it better doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it yourself!

What a relief to know my girls didn’t want “picture perfect” eggs… they just wanted to spend quality time with their momma!

Try, try again

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A recent attempt at a fish tail braid

There are some things I really stink at. Ok- lots of things.

One of them is french braiding.

I spent many lazy summer days as a pre-teen learning to french braid my own hair.  I spent hours on and off for days on end learning how to craft the tightest, smoothest braid possible. But for some reason, as strange as it seems, it is far easier to braid my own hair (without even being able to see what I’m doing) than it is to braid either of my girls’ hair.

So this morning, when my spirited younger daughter came to me with the request of a french braid, I had to break the news to her.

“Momma’s not so good at that.”

“Just try. Please?!”

“Are you sure?  I might mess up…I may have to do it more than once.”

“That’s ok, momma. I still want you to do it.”

And so I took the brush from her hand and began gingerly brushing her ultra-thick, tangled hair.  She was incredibly patient with me.  Usually at this stage of the game, there would be lots of ouches!  and you’re hurting me!! 

But not today.  She believed in me.

And slowly I separated the pieces of hair and began to work on that braid.

“It’s a little bit messy,” I told her.

“That’s ok, Mom.”

Before I knew it, I had a french braid staring back at me.  I secured it tightly and she smiled from ear to ear. I took her to the mirror and showed her my imperfect handiwork, and placed bobby pins to hold her wispy strands back from her face.

“Are you sure you want to keep it up like that?”

“Yep!” she exclaimed, and flashed me her dazzling smile.

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My Sophie taught me two very important lessons today:

-My daughter believed in me… and because she believed in me, she gave me the encouragement to not give up

-trying my best will always be good enough to those who love me

His perfect love shined through my daughter this morning, blinding me to my imperfect braid… and reminding me how He uses the smallest things to show me how great He is and how much He loves us!

               Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2