The Little Things

I’ve missed writing and think about it often, wondering what I would write if I chose to write each night I think about writing but don’t actually begin.

I’ve enjoyed the gift of time from not writing and also miss the days of continuity and focusing on what went well each day when I was writing. That yin and yang thing is always present and there are trade offs, aren’t there?

The little thing that caught my attention today was making the kids’ lunches again. I used to make their lunches, then Jeff made their lunches, and then they made their lunches, you know, practicing growing up and being responsible for taking care of themselves.  When we had our Japanese exchange student with us earlier this month, I was making breakfasts, lunches and dinners for everyone, including my BIG kids. After Kohei left, I kinda carried on and continued making lunches, gave up breakfasts and still make dinners. I realized I actually love making their lunches and the connection this creates, providing for them this way. I love that it makes them happy and takes a little bit of the burden away from their busy mornings, even if they could do it for themselves.  I love when Juliana texts me during the day to say how much she enjoyed what was prepared for her, or shares her gratitude and a moment of thought, connection, love.

I love the little things.IMG_8436 2

Whatever Will Be Will Be

It’s been a week, no months, of pushing and watching and questioning and wondering and flexing and letting go and accepting what is to be and flowing with it.

On Thursday, it began. Christian, my high school senior, came home early from school for our lunch date, but I had a work meeting. He went and picked up lunch for us and while I was working, he decided he was going to finally work on his college applications. I’ve been pushing and questioning and wondering and exploring and asking him to own this process since the beginning of summer. He decided that he wanted to go to community college and didn’t want to go through the college app process, and that he was happy with staying local. I accept my kids’ choices and yet I always push them to the edge and maybe over their comfort zone and I question their motivation and intention. I am okay with their decisions and I want to be sure they think through the costs and benefits and risks, every step they take. I ask the hard questions, set up challenges, and then give them space to own their decisions and the path they choose to take.

Well, on Thursday he decided he was going to apply to the University of Iowa and he decided he was going to fill out the application that day. While I was wrapping up work, he requested that I push my computer aside so that I could look over his online application on his laptop. Let me just say I was surprised and curious and supportive and perplexed and thankful and scared. I helped validate the form and gave my credit card number to pay for the application fee, all while wondering where did this come from?  I was proud that he (finally) decided to begin the process before the almost deadline. We clicked send and then I wondered, “what if?”

Flash forward to today, when I was busy working again to put money away for the kids’ college fund, when I received a text: 

And just like that, our thoughts have shifted and the opportunity is in front of us and we are thankful and curious and shocked and excited for the possibilities. Who knows what will come next, but for now I am thankful for the journey and know that whatever will be will be…and I am proud of Christian and wish him well as he navigates this next stage. Congratulations!! Be still my heart. 

Day 16: Summer

Tonight they made it home safely along with 69 of their church friends from their service trip to Mexico.

They worked really hard in the hot sun, building houses for 4 days. It was demanding work and they received an IKEA like manual instructing them how to put the homes together. They didn’t get to use power tools and instead cut wood with a hand saw, mixed concrete by hand and learned how to pound nails straight into the planks.

They slept in crowded tents, used stinky outhouses for toilets and helped bathe each other using buckets of cold water that they kept having to refill.  This wasn’t a glamorous trip and it cost a lot of money to participate. And did I mention they had no cell phones with them for a week? They survived. 

And guess what? They didn’t complain. They are tired and sore and happy to be home and thankful for the experience.

I am thankful that our church provides these volunteer opportunities for our youth, so that they can learn to be of service to others, to sacrifice their time and comforts to be giving and loving and in return, they benefit too in so many ways. Juliana walked into our house and said we have a big house! Their perspectives on life are hopefully changed by seeing how other people live and by working hard, side by side with their peers for a few days, sharing a God moment.

I am thankful for the advisors who cared for our kids and treated them like their own and for the deeper relationships that were strengthened through this shared experience.

Life is good!! Love is love is love is!! One Love. Love this life.


I am working on this one.

I am not trying to attract attention, but maybe I am.

I am trying to attract like mindedness with my kid, who at the moment (this morning), is frustrating me. He has a very strong will and so do I and I’m the mama so I have seniority and tenure, as if that means anything. I find that when I react in a negative way (think yelling and threatening to take away everything he desires), I attract negative behavior back. He mimics me or I mimic him or maybe we mimic each other.

I am practicing staying calm and focused on being kind and firm as I guide him and I together on our shared trajectory. I have so many things to still teach him and to learn myself, at least that is my intention. I am hoping that if I stay calm and don’t overreact, that he’ll mimic me and listen and learn about cause and effect and make good choices too. I am still learning and practicing repetition, breathing and patience. I know it works. It just takes time to practice and it isn’t easy and it’s work. UGH.

All good things take work. I’ll keep practicing and loving on him as we grow up together, one day, one hug at a time. I’ll check back with you in 7 years and let you know how this little experiment turns out.  🙂





They’re Growing Up!!


It’s easier to talk about the cats growing up than admitting that my kids are growing up.

I’m having an emotional week or two observing my life changing in front of me and I know it’s all normal and great and I’m still struggling.

My baby went to middle school orientation today. My baby girl went to Freshman orientation and my 1st baby started driving!! They’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do and I’m freaking out. I want to step on the brakes and slow down and we’re going full speed ahead.

I always dreamed of being a mama and yet I never fully imagined them growing up and doing their own thing, even though my goal in raising them was to raise independent, kind and compassionate thinkers. They’re on their way and I’m feeling a little lost. I’ll find my way again, I’m just in that transitioning phase, redefining my role and I don’t like it very much. I’m proud and happy for them and figuring out what the next phase looks like for all of us.

We’re all growing up and figuring it out as we go, bumps and tears, frustrations and laughs and opinions and all.

Are you in a transition phase? How do you create peace as you go through the change? Wishing you happiness.


Tidying Up and Letting Go

I am taking this tidying up thing seriously and spreading the love.

Juliana emptied three trash bags full of clothes to give away. She rolled up her remaining clothes and stacked them vertically in her drawers so she could see what she has and created space. She loves to paint her nails and created an artistic space to do her work. I loved peeking in and seeing her be creative.  She got it!! Tidying up isn’t about the process of tidying all the time. It’s about keeping your space organized and neat so that you can really enjoy your space. 

Charlie’s room has been collecting clutter for months and there was so much stuff that there was no place to put anything anymore. I knew that he needed help and I knew it would take hours to look at each item and make decisions on what needed to stay and what needed to go.

I skipped yoga this morning and told him we would work on his room instead before we got distracted. We spent 3 hours decluttering and creating give away bags and lots of trash. Once we looked at everything, we found small plastic shoe boxes to create structure and organization for his treasures and clothes in his drawers and under bed boxes. He struggled and was bored but he kept going and didn’t give up. As we got close to finishing, he starting making a fort under his bed. He had a new space to play in and used it.

We moved out his desk and made more room for his drum set. As soon as the space was created, he started playing his drums and finding a place for his drumsticks.  He was happy.

One thing we decided to let go of today was our Lego collection. I was proud of the boys for being willing to give them away.

I, on the other hand, struggled a bit to say goodbye to the two bins full of happy memories. I loved watching them play with them for so many years. Letting them go felt like acknowledging and seeing that the boys are really growing up. It was like being handed a receipt, letting me know that yes, the boys are big now. I already know that, but the act of letting go of the Legos was symbolic.  I “thanked them” for the joy they brought to our lives and wished them well, bringing joy to new boys and girls. 

Life is good!


My Receipt

I remember in preschool one of the kid’s teachers told me that art work wasn’t a receipt for my child’s time in the classroom. I liked that visual and knowing not to expect anything, except for my child to hopefully enjoy their time with their friends and teachers and learning. And if not for anything else, having them in school for a couple hours was a blessing as it gave me a couple hours to recharge and have time for myself and gave them a break from my parenting.

I don’t expect receipts or a raise or a report card for being a mother. But sometimes I feel validated in ways that feel like a receipt for a job that is appreciated by my family. I am grateful knowing that they are content.

Today I had one on one time with each of my kids, as they had a bonus day off from school. My teenagers wanted to hang out with me. That alone makes me happy.

Charlie and I spent time sharing a book, and reading together throughout the day. When we had 30 minutes before his basketball practice, we slipped into Starbucks to share a drink and to read a couple more chapters.


Christian and I went on a 6 mile hike together and enjoyed 2 hours together, checking out all the animals, enjoying the quiet of nature, exercising, and sharing conversation.






Juliana and I have begun playing cards together, which is one of my favorite things to do. We also spent time getting beautified and shopping and cooking together. I love her company and that she will still hold my hand. I didn’t take any pictures with her today, but I did capture a picture of the beautiful sky tonight that she told me to come see.


Tonight Charlie asked me to be his basketball coach, as they don’t have enough volunteers. I’ve coached him in baseball and soccer, and was touched that he still wants me to be his coach. I declined the invitation and thanked him for thinking of me and wanting me to be a part of his team this way. We were talking about this in the car with Juliana on the way home. She said maybe I didn’t want to be a basketball coach, but maybe I’d want to be their life coach. Did that really come out of her mouth? I said I’d love to be her life coach and guide her on her journey. Later I thanked her for making my day, and she said something to the effect, maybe she would follow me and find and create happiness like I do. For real? She already does!! How cool is that?

I love my job, and am thankful for my receipt today.

Life is good.