Friday, September 30, 2011

The Special Knowing of Moms...

"What are you doing?" Mom asks.

"Writing." I mutter with that monotone teenage tone of annoyance that only 15 year olds can perfect.

"Writing about what?"

"Just writing."

I wish she would just go away and leave me be.

"You look sad. What's on your mind? Want to talk about it?" Mom gently continues. She sits tentatively on the edge of my bed, ready to leave if I send her off, hoping I won't.

"Not really," I sigh.

Simon and Garfunkel plays softly in the background and frantically I scribble my teenage angst into a journal. Wanting to be me, not wanting to conform, not wanting to not-conform for the sake of non-conformity. Wanting to be free of social pressures of high school, the work of trying to fit in, to look cool, to say the "right" things:

I just want to be me and sing and play guitar and wear what I want to wear and know who I am and love that. And I want others to love that, too. I want to weave colored thread into my hair and put patches on my jeans and part my hair down the middle. I want to grow sunflowers, plant them from seed right outside my window, their cheerful heads greeting me each morning. I long to breathe in the heady perfume of summer rains, of wet dewy nights with damp covers and sticky legs. To wrestle free of insecurity, of drama, of second-guessing and just. be. me. I want someone to really know me, to cherish me, to hold me, to treasure me...

I pause. I can't tell Mom all of this. She'll never understand me in a thousand years.

Deep sigh.

"Mom, do you feel like you know who you are? I mean, like, who you really are?"

"Oh Erin, you remind me so much of myself when I was your age. So full of questions and ponderings, the sadness in your eyes and tenderness in your heart. I love the way you write about what matters to you, the way to draw and listen to music and think about the things that matter in life. You're so special, there aren't many people like you in the world. You're so uniquely touched by God and stirred by nature. I love your heart and the way your mind works. I love the way you think deeply about song lyrics and their hidden meanings, read Walt Whitman and scribble thoughts in a journal. I just wish I could make you less sad."

I take all of this in, stunned by the ways mom truly knows me, the things she sees that I thought I kept hidden from the world. What is it about Moms that makes them able to see into their children's hearts like that?

Maybe I'm not so alone afterall. Maybe I am loved. Really loved. Treasured. Maybe somebody, just somebody really does pay attention. I am comforted by this moment between mother and daughter but can't say how much this has all meant to teenage coolness just won't allow for it.

"I'm not sad. Mom. I just get a little sick of it all sometimes. But I feel better now. Wanna watch a movie with me?"

We pop in Amadeus, make microwave popcorn and eat it by the handful, dropping greasy kernels on covers and chasing away the loneliness together with unspoken souls uniting, shared DNA joining mother and daughter in melancholy harmony for all eternity.

shared with:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 Fall Fun Crafts for Kids!

Fall is one of my all-time favorite times of year. And being the crafty kinda gal that I am, I love me some Fall kids crafts! So, I've been doing a bit of online hunting to complie some projects (10 to be exact) that I'm pretty psyched about. Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest and Google, finding awesome projects out there is pretty easy to do! And, so, I just thought I'd share them with you and save your fingers to extra clicking of finding them for yourself. :) Here goes:

1. The Leaf Person.
It's a classic leaf-meets-contact-paper-collage but with a fun little twist. Simple, fun and bonus--it's not even messy!! (and, besides my kids ADORE any crafts incorporating googly eyes!)

2. The Cutest Looking Produce You've Ever Seen.
Ok, so I made up that title but, seriously, have you ever seen something cuter than this?! (And if you have, I NEED to know about it!) We are SO making these--Pronto!

3.Tissue Paper Candy Corn
I have always had a little soft spot for candy corn--it's just so darn cheerful! So this craft is just as much for me as it is for the kids. :)

4. Hand Print Tree
Is Fall complete without some version of a hand print tree? I think not. So we're doing this one because it's just purty.

5. Button Corn
Another craft that's just as much for me as it is for kids! How fun is this?! And, besides, it ties in perfectly with our Agricultural homeschool unit we'll be doing which is just a cool bonus.

6. Large Leaf Print
Ok, so this one is so gorgeous that it looks like it needs to be put immediately into a frame and hung on a wall (well, after it dries that is. Sorry, corny joke. I'm full of 'em!). I just hope we'll be able to find some ginormous leaves out there somewhere!

7. Pasta Skeleton
Here's another one that's arguably educational as well as adorable. It's an anatomy lesson and a Halloween decoration all rolled into one! I call that a win-win!

8. Felt Stitched Leaf Garland
And here we have yet another educational and while fun craft! Adorable garland for mom and sewing skills for the kids! SO (or sew? See, I warned you!) AWESOME.

9. Rock Bugs
Ok, so this one could really be done any time of year, but it just so happens that I discovered it recently and my boys luuuuuurve all things bugs, so a Fall craft for us it shall be. (So don't BUG me about it not being seasonal. Get it? Get it?? Sorry, once I get started there's really no stopping the bad puns. It's like a disease I tell you.)

10.Doughnut Hole Acorns
Ok, I just had to save the sweetest thing for last! How adorable and YUMMY do these look?! Yes, please!

So, that just about wraps up my list of fun Fall crafts. I hope you like some of these as much as I do, and if you decide to do any of them, I'd LOVE to know about it! Please link or mention your projects below in the comments so I can delight in your crafty goodness! :)

Happy Fall!

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Classified: Mom

Monday, September 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (part 14)

It's been awhile since I last posted my gratitude list, although I've been trying my best to record His gifts in my personal journal at home. It's been neat to look back on a Summer full of captured grace. Even in a season of sorrow (Sadly, I experienced a miscarriage over the summer) there has still been so much to be thankful for...some of it the hard eucharisteo, as Ann calls it. As a new season begins-- both in nature and in my own life--I pause to ponder the wonder of the everyday gifts from above. And so my list continues, an entire Summer of gifts:

299. long soulful walk with friend

300. lightening behind nighttime clouds, illuminating black sky with electric energy

301. Hostas in full bloom with fuzzy buzzy visitors

302. Ben and Jerry's ice cream!

303. a clean kitchen (a rare occurrence!)

304. Son telling me in expressive tones, "the garden Lillies are so beautiful!"

305. morning sunlight filtered through trees

306. Watching thunderstorm with the kids--power and beauty of nature, and the awe of it

307. 3 year-old son telling me he hopes I sleep well as I'm tucking him in

308. 6 year old son exclaiming he loves to read!

309. brain-storming, bursts of creative energy

310. little boy squeals of delight as brothers swing together outside on playset

311. falling asleep to cricket song

312. apple walnut cake fresh out of the oven

313. ripe garden tomatoes

314. apple trees ripe with fruit

315. iced pumpkin lattes from Dunkin Donuts!

316. little girl snuggles with baby dolls

317. new winter hats for the kids that they've been wearing around the house in 70 degree weather!

318. sweet and salty corn on the cob dripping with butter, color of sunshine

319. laughing hysterically with the boys playing charades

320. refreshing evening walk with the kids-relaxation after a full day

321. Trust, connection and heart-healing conversation with an old friend

322. Cub-scout son's ear-to-ear grin at Raingutter Regatta-joy of victory!

323. Laughter over painfully hot buffalo wings(a restaurant mix-up!), not enough milk in the world cool the mouth burn!

324-330. Date Day: gorgeous weather, popcorn on a wooded bench, walking hand-in-hand, great conversation, soul connection

331. Renewed inspiration after season of rest and recovery

332. Crock pot cooking-easy and delicious!

333. Muffin tin meals-fun for the kids and easy for mom!

334. Fall craft days with the kids

335. discovering new music artists that stir the soul

336-340. The life lessons that only come from sorrow, renewed sense of what matters most in life, strengthened bonds with family and friends, outpouring of love from surprising places and over-whelming sense of hope in the midst of it all

341. son running in to bring me first colorful fallen leaf of the season be continued...

shared with:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekend Reflection: De-clutter Your Soul

"We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that." 1Tim. 6:7-8

There is a lot of...stuff in the world. And stuff is by no means inherently bad, but it can have a strong pull on our minds, our hearts and our desires. Stuff can be a distraction from the richer things in life-the things that money can't buy. Things like hugs, prayer, giving, laughter, love. These are the truest riches of all in life. Connections with others and with God cannot be bought. And all of those pretties out there in the world do not bring joy, real lasting soul-stirring joy. Scripture reminds us that whatever stuff we have, we cannot take it with us when our time here is done.

And while the Lord wants us all to delight in the beauty of the earth and in all of the ways people create things of innovation and beauty, there is a definite balance to people's relationships with material goods. There's a point where stuff can clutter your mind and cloud what really matters.

So I encourage you to take some time to de-clutter your relationship with stuff this weekend, and I will do the same. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Take a moment to call and old friend that you haven't spoken to in a while. Read something soul-enriching, something that brings you closer to God. Do something kind and unexpected for somebody you love or even a complete stranger. Spend some time splurging on the greater riches, the ones that come for free.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Growing

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama today for another Five Minute Friday! Five Minute Friday is where we write on a given topic for 5 minutes only. It's so much fun! This week the topic is "growing."

Here goes:

Growing. Sometimes it's hard to see our growth. I'm reminded of the lyrics of that Raffi song:

"I Wonder if I'm growing, I wonder if I'm growing. My mom says yes I'm growing, but it's really hard to see."

Six year old son beams with pride as he begins his first year of Cub Scouts, and 3 year old son cries bitter frustrated tears that he's not yet old enough to participate. I draw him near and assure him that one day he'll get there.

It's hard to wait for growth. Always, we're looking ahead to the future, for our growth sometimes feels too slow to dwell on in the present. We look to the day when we'll have accomplished this or that, a big milestone we're anxiously awaiting, or the wisdom we so badly want.

But we are growing. If we pause to instead look back, we can truly see our growth. Take a moment to look back on where you've come from. It's hard to see back so many miles, on that twisty and sometimes rough terrain. But that's how we truly know that the growing has taken place. Look back on the bumps in the road, take a moment to dwell on the potholes, the road flooded heavy with fat tears and heavy disappointment.


Becoming more fully who we are and fulfilling out unique purpose.

And then, after that backward glance look at today. You are here. Now. Miles ahead and all the wiser for it. You have grown, and though you may have "miles to go before you rest" you have journeyed a long way. Appreciate your growth and step ahead with the knowledge that each step brings you just a little bit closer to the destination.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coffee Mug Scrambled Eggs

I recently found this great little recipe in a magazine (I can't remember which one! I was reading several in one sitting.) and have been enjoying this simple breakfast ever since. It's great for hurried mornings on-the-go! I just thought I'd share it with you. (And bonus: You only dirty one coffee mug in the process!)

--2 large eggs
--1 T milk
--2 T shredded cheese (cheddar works well)
--salt and pepper to taste

Spray inside of microwave-safe coffee mug with non-stick spray. Add 2 large eggs, milk, salt, pepper and cheese. Scramble with fork and place in microwave for approx. 1-2 minutes on high. (Cooking time will vary.) Watch the mug until the eggs begin to rise above the rim of the mug. At this point remove the mug, flip over the eggs inside and microwave an additional 10 seconds or so. Viola!

You can play around with additional ingredients (e.g. veggies, sausage, bacon bits, etc. I haven't personally tried this yet but I bet it'd be yummy!)


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend Reflection: Ordinary Days

Ordinary Days
Helen Fahrbach

Not all gifts are tied
with festive ribbons,
some arrive on
ordinary days.

A small surprise
of gull's pure flight
can wing a benefit
to the common hour.

As school days resume and we settle into new schedules, we find ourselves in the throws of the ordinary days. The days that don't stand out, the days where things are often predictable and perhaps even a little hum-drum. But even the ordinary days contain gifts. We learn something new, a friend surprises us in some small yet significant way and our spirits are lifted. Take time to find the pleasure in the ordinary days, for each one contains hidden gems so long as we are on the look-out for them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Autumn Marks Change...

It's been a long time since I last posted. As summer draws to a close, hints of autumn begin creeping in with leaves changing ahead of schedule and the cool sharp air of early morning chilling my cheeks. Autumn can be a sad time for some, a happy time for others. For some it marks a closing, to others new beginnings. It's a little bit of both for me this year for, sadly, I lost a baby 3 weeks ago. My 4th child on-the-way was just not meant to be here on Earth. In my 14th week of pregnancy I experienced a placental abruption, and my sweet little one went to meet Jesus. After a difficult hospitalization resulting in a D&C and 2 weeks of bed rest, I'm happy to say that I'm back on my feet again.

Fall activities bring a rush of busyness; the manic energy of new groups forming, school supplies being broken in and the sense that its time to...move on. Time for brighter days, for learning new things and embracing fresh experiences. In the midst of all of this newness I find myself learning something new-- learning how to move on from a pregnancy interrupted. While my family picks apples and eats corn off the cob, I'm packing away my hopes and dreams for what wasn't to be. The dreams of holding my newborn in my arms and hazily adjusting to life with 4 kids is no longer a reality, and I am left with I can't quite call it a void, because I feel truly fulfilled with my 3 sweet children and my loving husband. In more ways than I can count I have been blessed with abundance and grace, for which I am so thankful. Yet in learning that my little one is now with God, there remains a space to fill. New dreams to dream, a different future than the one I had expected.

While I mourn the loss of my child, I find myself in an odd place. I find myself somewhere halfway between joy and sorrow. My days are filled with the happy flutter of caring for children and still I find myself pausing at times to wonder, "What new dreams do I put in this space?" Sure I can pour myself more fully into the many groups and projects I'm a part of, which is time well spent. But I suppose I want this season of my life to represent something. I feel this sense that there is a lot to learn from this experience, and I'm open to making the most of it. I believe that God wants us to learn new things from seasons of suffering, and I want to be sure I learn all that I am supposed to from the loss of my little one.

One thing I have come away with from this experience is a renewed sense of gratitude for the many blessing in my life. And as I pray to the Lord and to my little one in heaven I am filled with a sense of hope. In this time of sadness and time of forming new dreams the Lord implores me to embrace the hope that He brings. Hope for the future. Hope in Him. Hope that new dreams will come and that this feeling of loss in time will transform into something beautiful and bright.

And so I move forward with all of the hope that I can muster, trusting that the Lord will guide me through this season of change and make new paths known to me.

Uncertain Landscape
by Helen Fahrbach

The day begins in hiding,
the lake lost in fog.
Mist winds around trees
where birds scold about
damp nests. Fence posts
poke through a grounded cloud
and the road is a mystery.

Around noon, when the sun
burns off the haze, obscure
landmarks move into place
the way familiar stars come out
in evening skies.

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You."
--Ps. 39:7


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