Thursday, April 4, 2019

Parenting As An Older Mom

Age changes parenting.  Experience changes how I parent.  I am grateful to have this perspective, as a mom with a spread of 18 years.  I do some things differently but more it's just an inner confidence.

I see that self-discipline is so important to teach.  (Wait till dinner.)
The ability to hear and process the word no is so important.  (You can't always get what you want.)
The gift of children knowing the world is not centered around them and their wants and learning how to cope with the discomfort that might entail is so so important.  (Sitting still in church, respect for others at a restaurant, in a classroom...)
Being able to make themselves do hard things.  (Finish the task, hike, project, chore.)
Enduring discomfort without an outside source (caregiver) rescuing.  (Oh how we pamper our children today!)
Consequences.  Natural ones!
The importance of teaching empathy, and social skills which is learned way before school age.

There is so much BIG work as a parent, and sometimes I see so much concentration today on the little ridiculou things as an older parent-things I know I worried on also starting out.  Childhood is such an awesome chance to learn how to live in the world we were plopped into, and we have the gift as parent to teach our children the tools they will need to get through the ups and downs of life.  That is in essence our job.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

Peace is the beauty of life.
It is sunshine. 

It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, 
the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. 

It is the advancement of man, 
the victory of a just cause, 
the triumph of truth.
Menacham Begin

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Thinking, Playing, Reading

Of how blessed I have been in so many ways, and still continue to be.  I have spent the last couple weeks spring cleaning, making my house smell good, freshening up rooms, and having fun evenings at home together as a family.  AND...March Madness...a big part of our life here for sure.  We have our brackets (mine soley chosen on how much farther south each team is because of SUNSHINE, with the exception of MI of course, who wins it all.  Janey and I made ours cute with gel pens and sunshines, and flowers.  Dad and the boys think we are crazy (not about MI about how we choose) but we might just get lucky.

It's a mud pit outside but that doesn't stop the kids from wanting to go out.  Patrick has a Lenten basketball shooting practice resolution he must keep.  Andrew has track practice every evening.  Fresh air and exercise!

I'm on a roll!  Went on a WWII kick except for one light read.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by [Morris, Heather]

Incredible true story-easier to read prose, heartbreaking as all books about the Holocaust would be, but filled with hope also.

About a young girl surviving in a Siberian work camp-an incredible story-we are SO lucky to live in a peaceful country!
If you don't want to read the book HERE is the movie.

New York Times notable book
An international bestseller
A Carnegie Medal nominee
A William C. Morris Award finalist
A Golden Kite Award winner

This one is my favorite out of them all.  Set in a concentration camp-another love and survival story-a wife is forced to serve in the camp brothel, and is saved by a relationship with the enemy, while still holding out hope for reunification with her husband.

And for a light read:

Written in a unique way (reminds me a little of Bridget Jones).  Really really funny but well written also.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, 
the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. 
It's the little things that make happy moments, 
not the grand events. 

Joy comes in sips, not gulps.
Sharon Draper

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ordinary Days

I turned 50 on Saturday.  The much feared 50 is heaven for me.  I will gladly kiss my late 40's goodbye. 

I was describing it (in tears) to someone as crisis after crisis.  I felt like God would push me under the water to endure another trial, bring me up to catch my breath and let me relax just a tiny bit, and then say NOPE, back down you go.  Like a pool bully-you know the one. 

He wanted something for me I imagine-to morph me into someone new, but heck is that very very painful and honestly it almost killed me.  I have mourned for my old life in many ways, where the biggest problem seemed to be what I was having for dinner, or that the garage door wouldn't work, or other trivial, or not so trivial but not so huge things that we could recover quickly from.  I miss that girl.  But I also know that I life is about changing and growing and breaking open and healing and blooming again.  My faith is SO much stronger than it has ever been and the love for my family-for my husband, my children, and my parents, along with extended family is deeper than ever.  And friendships were forged during my late 40's that I will forever ever treasure dearly.

Jeff threw me a huge surprise party and pampered me all week.  I loved all the gifts and celebrations and the kids being all in town.  And the cake!  Look at this thing!  Friends and family helped to make it extra special.

I am LUCKY to turn 50.  Some do not get the gift of another year.  I am lucky to be here today.  I am lucky to have the deep authentic love my husband and I share and to have all my children here and healthy.  I am incredibly lucky to have a warm and cozy home, and money to afford so many things.  I am grateful to have my health-to have eyes and ears and to taste and smell, and to be able to take walks and not spend so many hours in doctor's offices. I am so lucky that my chemo worked.  I am lucky to have my family here with me and to have quiet evenings of closeness and laughter and yes, homework arguments and bedtime arguments and meal clean-up and laundry and boys riding scooters in the house and everything else that makes a home a home.

I love my life-with all the mountains and I also love the valleys of beautiful wildflowers and easy terrain (God did you hear that?). 

I am incredibly grateful to have the upbringing I have had. I have said to my parents many times this year "Thank you for making me haul in firewood in the winter" and I mean it.   And thank you for making me clean out the awful chicken coop, and thank you for raising me so simply without many material things so I know what is important in life.  Thank you for cultivating a love of books and knowledge.  Thank you for working so so hard for me so that I had the example of what sacrifice really is.  Thank you for letting me see you persevere during your own crisis in life so that I know it is possible to come down the other side.  Thank for so much for passing on your faith and cementing in me at a young age that there is more to life, something much much bigger, than "me".  Perseverance, reverence, resilience, gratefulness, simplicity....the gifts I was blessed with as a child and adult go on and on from the upbringing they provided me.

So here is to 50!  I am grateful and excited.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

"I used to feel guilty about idle moments.  Time spent splayed out in the lawn chair, staring at the sky, was time "wasted". A walk in the woods with a friend and her dog meant that I wouldn't get my aerobic workout for the day.  When Henry, at three, wanted to hear the same story every day for a month and have the same conversation about it every time, I could not help thinking about the stack of unread library books that was gathering dust in the meantime.

But I have come to believe that all of these activities are essential.  They are what is meant by "nurturing".  

Our children do not need any more possessions to be happy; they need only to feel sure that they possess our hearts, our attention, our acceptance of who they are."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I'm So Excited

My brother is once more "famous" :). 

His beautiful pieces of art are now in Anthropology and they go quickly so get them while they are hot.  I LOVE THIS LINE!!!  It makes me think of spring!

When Andy was little he was "my" baby (he is the youngest of five, I am the second oldest) and he was so sweet and chubby and took life at his own pace and ALWAYS has, which makes me admire him even more.  He noticed all the little beauties of nature and felt no need to rush and my dear mother and father honored that about him.  (Remember that, moms of kids who move at their own pace-these kids are the smart Godly contemplative ones after all, who live in a crazy world of stress but refuse to take part.)

After college he moved to be with the love of his life, Rose Marie, in Kilkenny County Ireland, where Rose has a pottery shop in a castle yard.  Their work complements each other in so many ways-work at home and work in the shop.  They have two lovely children who we all adore-even when they say naughty things (which I never think they do) they say it with an Irish accent which makes us all think it's the cutest thing in the world and we can't help laughing which might or might not annoy their parents. 

His work has been featured in Architectural Digest and so many other publications I can't keep up.  His pieces have been sought after far and wide.  He is a testament to following a dream, and being true to your inner soul. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


"Set your eyes on things that are above, 
not on things that are on earth." 
Colossians 3:2

I am all set to go.  This is the daily reflection book I have chosen.  From what I have skimmed through so far it is wonderful and has me excited for Ash Wednesday.  Peace, trust, prayer, reflection, adoration-that is my Lenten resolution.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

We must not drift away from the
humble works, because these are
the works nobody will do.  They are
never too small.  We are so small
we look at things in a small way.
Even if we do a small thing for
somebody, God, being almighty,
sees everything as great.
For there are many people who can 
do big things.  But there
are very few people who
will do the small things.

Mother Theresa

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ordinary Days

I love praying in our church when it is empty and quiet.  It is gorgeous.  They don't make churches like this anymore-I'm not sure why.  Every little bit of it is a work of art.

Matt who is now in college-I love looking back at these photos and sending them on to the kids.  Remember who you are in that new crazy world you are living in!!!

These guys went on a ski trip with Dad and had a blast.  Next year Janey will be ready to learn and we will join them instead of miss them.  It was nice getting little photos and videos.

Abbey was a good big sister and taught them all how to snowboard (she is actually really good which is why this is funny).

I have been subbing in art class and LOVE it.  It's so much fun but I do come home exhausted.  The kids are so so cute and most want to learn-just have a thirst for knowledge.  It's so fun to watch.

Teachers are amazing and we should all be worshipping at their feet.  I have SO much to say about that but that is going to be a whole other post.  Basically-throw out all the tech and teach your kids to be calm and concentrate and be respectful.  But throw out the tech.  Really do it, hurl it into the attic forever.  It is hurting and damaging children's brains immensely and there is a marked obvious difference in the kids who play video games and spend time on screens and the kids who don't.  If there are any non-believers in that statement spend some days with kids at school.  Or just try it-try it for 6 months.  Take it out of the house and just say no, it's gone, no more.  ALL OF IT.  

A great friend I met a long time ago through my blog has an AWESOME instagram account full of the coolest art projects-she's been teaching for 20 something years. Some simple and not complicated to do at home.  

I bought a few new but basic art supplies for Janey and Patrick to keep then busy-I know the northern kids across the continent are going stir-crazy.
All-Media Art Paint Set by Artist s Loft (126391) 
Really nice art supplies in a sturdy box.  It comes with directions for all the different types of paints, crayons and pencils.

Coolest Paint Markers-we love these!  If you aren't in the mood for paint clean-up or have littles ones that make it too difficult these are the answer.

This playdoh is the best, and fun for the kids to make.  Smells so good!  Janey loves choosing the flavors at the grocery store.

Can you believe it?  My fourth child I get to teach to drive.  Actually my husband gets to teach to drive-I just can't do it. 
 I remember trying with Abbey-I think I was pregnant, but after about 10 minutes I felt so so car sick with the starts and stops.  I can laugh about it now but I think I was pretty impatient.  We all have our strengths and that's just not one of mine, although I can honestly say I've chilled immensely as the years go on.  The gift of aging I guess, along with wrinkles. :)