bonus hours

The boys’ room went faster than I expected it to.  I took advantage of some sleepless, early morning hours and one garbage bag, two goodwill bags, and two focused hours later, the room returned to maintainable levels.  Next I plan to tackle the linen closet, which shouldn’t need more than a rearranging of blankets and straightening towels.

Sometimes I get sidetracked by the lack of uniformity or beauty in my home.  The Pier 1’s of the world have a way of attracting me into thinking I can’t be happy unless I have that rug, or those pillows, or this perfectly beautiful table and chairs.  The boys’ room could use a fresh coat of paint, a plant, and a wall-hanging, but everything they need is there.

I think we’re the happiest when we’re content with what we have.  In contentment the focus is on our abundance, and the lacks, instead of losses, become more like dreams. Someday I’ll paint the wall again. Someday I’ll find the perfect plant.  But if tomorrow never comes, and the somedays never happen, today I have peace in the joy of what is.

 

 

 

homeschool organization

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Last year I waited too long to get going.  June flew by, July 1st is here, and that means school will be here before I know it.  Things will be different this year with my oldest entering high school. We had some seriously incredible homeschool years together.

The timing feels right in sending him off.  I think he’s ready for something more than I can offer.   I look at the class schedule and think, “Ok , but what out of any of this prepares you for life?”, but there’s more to school than academics.  School is community.

My main preparations are beginning with the house.  I spent my down-times of May and June sorting out my bedroom.  It’s finally clean to a point where I am happy.  I walk in and see peace, calm, space, and satisfaction. It’s time to be done with the messes in there.

My next task is to tackle the boys room again. I haven’t “hit it hard” since the mass cleaning after Christmas, and it just seems to be the reality that the kids’ rooms need a good thorough purging twice a year.  I can’t be the one keeping on top of it for them, but if I can get them to a place where things are easier to maintain, it’s extremely helpful and the time is well spent.

My house seems to be a constant source of low-grade stress. That being said, I love being a homemaker. So much of this we’ve had to figure out on our own, and looking back on the years, I am thankful for the ways God keeps providing, sustaining, and inspiring.  He’s always there providing us with fresh hope, a well-timed encouragement,  new seasons that come with a new set of sure and certain joys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

best life now

Some of my biggest regrets involve ruining moments that didn’t need to be ruined.  After Brandon died, we had a house-warming party for my sister here at camp.  We held it on the day they were supposed to get married.  My mom, my sisters, and a handful of Liz’s close friends were there.  It was a time to acknowledge the day and be together.

A gentle rain fell throughout the entire afternoon and we all thought heaven had tipped its hat to our sadness. By the end of the weekend, I remember being completely annoyed with my mom.  I don’t remember now what she had done, said, or didn’t do or say.  The land of my insides made its way to boiling temperatures, and at the end of the weekend, when my mom was pumping gas at the nearby gas station, I completely blew up.

My anger is tied to the hurt of unmet needs.  I ruin relational moments with that hurt.  After that incident we eventually parted on settled down terms, but I was left with a flood of regret wondering why this hurt had insisted on being heard, and most of all, UNDERSTOOD.  As if me blowing up and being angry about every unmet need in my life had the power to change it and make it all better. I let my grudges dampen the days.

Something did change though after that weekend.  I didn’t want to ruin any moments anymore.  I had gotten a chance to spend time with my mom.  Why hadn’t I enjoyed or been thankful for that?  I love my mom and all the ways of her strangeness.  I want to bring her joy, not sorrow, in her life. I didn’t ever want to be angry or mad at her again.

 

 

 

 

letter doors

It’s been a regular thing to acknowledge Brandon’s death every time June 26th comes around.  This year I’m trying not to dwell in the past, to forge a different path through the matter that wants so bad to remember.

I can’t be afraid of this moment anymore.

That moment is in the past, years past.  My sister had a moment of her own this morning, where she showed us the pictures of the memories and smiles, where we tasted the joy and the fellowship of heaven.

How long do the pains of the past live inside us?

I’m taking my oldest to baseball practice.  My sister said it’s gone by so fast but it hasn’t.  This frequently spoken-of life-speed seems hard to imagine when you’ve felt every bump, bruise, and turn in the road.

~~~

We’re back from the lesson now.

He’s never been on a team before, and is hoping to play on the high school team next spring. My father-in-law offered to pay for private lessons.  He’s got a neighbor who coaches and does private coaching on the side.

He got hit within the first five minutes.

I saw the pain on his face and the way he folded over. I, momentarily, wanted to be done. Two different times I almost got up to go to him, to say “Are you alright?”, with temporary thoughts of “Was this a mistake?”

The coach stayed calm and I stayed where I was.

~~~

I’m kind of excited to be a baseball mom.

We’ve put off sports and activities for so long, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the way we have done it. My son loves baseball and I want him to have a chance to play, to make the kind of memories high school makes.

I liked the coach. He was super encouraging.

I don’t think you can properly coach without the onslaught and appreciation of encouragement.  Every single “Attaboy.” and “Good.” and “Great job, man.” sends a message to the soul.  It says, “You’re never alone and we can do this together.”

Onslaught: a fierce and destructive attack.

Encouragement is a fierce and destructive attack–against every high and lofty thought, every false narrative you’ve heard or told, every lie you’ve believed about yourself and your life.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for every moment You give us.

Hang in there, friends.

I love you, Brandon.

 

 

 

 

 

the moving truck

It’s been a weird week the past seven or eight days or so.  My grandparents moved, we’ve got family in town, and the summer kitchen learning curve has been steep.  Rather than hanging with my kids at the lake, I’ve spent most of the days thinking about the next meal we need to make, pushing the carts through Sam’s Club and Aldi, wondering if we have enough syrup, buns, bread for grilled cheese, and hairnets.

We just want to make everyone happy out there.  I find myself hiding from the people in line.  If I don’t look up, then I don’t have to face my own shameful fear of failure.  I don’t have to interact with the expressionless child, the overtired counselor, the random kid who can’t have the lactose or gluten. “Hi, kids! I’m so happy to see you all!” are the first words that want to come out of my mouth.  But when they don’t smile back…

I miss my days at the lake with the kids.  We still have piano and library days.  The schoolroom and the house are an ever work in progress. A little bit here, some decluttering there.  Since the move, I’ve talked to Grandma briefly once.  A moving truck came yesterday with their stuff.  Two men from G and G’s  church drove a moving truck over 2,500 miles from New York down to Florida, then here, then to my mom’s.

There wasn’t a whole lot of stuff to drop off, but the things they had were important to me.  Grandma’s old guestroom bed with matching headboard, dresser and breakable touch lamp.  The chimes that played in the back-porch wind, Grandma’s red, gingham, Betty Crocker cookbook, a few boxes full of old tablecloths, sheets, and spare trinkets.

It occurred to me that all of this was Grandmother’s stuff.  It made me wonder for a moment–what kind of legacies do Grandpas’ leave behind?  The things of Grandpa’s I wanted, the scrapbooks, the journals, the Clermont church history, these things he still wanted to keep for the time being.  They had to leave behind so much, but much of it was able to follow them there, then spread out to various parts of the country.

Lord, I don’t need to be the greatest camp cook ever.

I just want to be a sunny spot in Your day.