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Showing posts from 2016

All The Pretty Things (Books to Read)

You know I love books and I love to pass them on to others.  Here's a jewel I took my time reading through.  That I might absorb the story fully.

All the Pretty Things is Edie Wadsworth's memoir.  After confessing it took years to finally write this former Tennessee doctor spills out the story of her life across the pages.  I found myself nodding in agreement with so many thoughts she shared.  Feeling as if she formed the very words I felt too despite our very different life experiences.
Sometimes I felt like I was revisiting moments in my extended family's stories.  Coming from a family deep in the Appalachian mountains entrenched in scandals and jail time and alcoholism I've heard and known similar stories in my own uncles, aunts, and grandparents.
This is a story of abject poverty, extreme family dysfunction, and a little girl turned woman who refused to give up on the love of her alcoholic daddy.  Who always needed her daddy.
This is a story about a young girl tr…

Better Birthdays

The last half of the year running through January is the birthday season in our house.
Starting in late August all the way through January.
The last week in October means it's time to celebrate our Third Girl.  Fast forward three weeks and it's Second Girl's birthday.
That means combined birthday parties.
Last year that month of birthdays was very difficult and I wasn't able to really put together a meaningful birthday party. I was barely functioning and really just trying to keep my ahead above water. My kids could tell. I felt a lot of mom guilt over it.
We scrambled to make a makeshift crafting birthday party for the girls in the front lawn of their grandparents. The kids had fun, but it wasn't our usual birthday celebrations.
The cake was humorous. I was supposed to have made a Pete the Cat Cake, but when we arrived at the party I realized that Pete the Cat was ripped from the icing and smeared all over the cake cover.
There was no repairing it.  My Madely…

Saturday Spending

Saturday reminds me of that crips $100 dollar bill in your wallet.  It's the best offering of the week.  Usually.
It affords us with the promise of perhaps the most unfettered time with people we love, friends, our kids, or time to spend catching up on everything that has been left off during the week.
I say that is usually the case.  I realize lots of people work on Saturdays.  I know for years I felt like my husband never actually had Saturday off.  We would get a few moments squeezed out of a Saturday, but never a full Saturday at our disposal.
If Saturday means you are off from work and present for your kids, your spouse, and your life then seriously ponder how you will spend it wisely.
Many years ago I heard how many Saturdays we have during the span of childhood.  I had forgotten.  Harley A. Rotbart M.D. tells us the facts in No Regrets Parenting:  There are 940 Saturdays from birth to college.  If you have a five year old you have already spent 260 Saturdays.
Before rea…

Noticing November : Bowls of rich soup

Last time I posted some thoughts on November it had to do with food.  It does this time too.  I think it's because cooler weather and holidays bring people in and places them around tables, kitchen counters, and ovens.  Knowing each other over shared food.   I think more about food when weather forces all of us inside.  What about you? A few years ago my mom started having a soup party in the Autumn.  She hollowed out a large pumpkin and ladled warm, bubbling soup into the seasonal container.  It was beautiful.   The kitchen greeted you with a stove filled with large pots of different kinds of soup.  A few crock pots simmered on the counters.  Ever since that party my mom has been pulling those same recipes out and making them again.  They show up at parties, baby showers, and sometimes family dinners.  I don't like to eat soup during the summer, but it fits Autumn just right.  Soup soothes.  And something about it feels not as complicated.  Some recipes require oh so many st…

Five Minute Friday #Common


"Don't you say that! " My mom snapped, "That's common!" When I saw this word prompt that is what instinctively came to my head.  It always does when I hear the word 'common'.
This was my mom's quick-better-get-your-act-together command to "talk like you  have some sense."
This was generally said in response to bathroom humor or anything that lacked manners.
It set a precedence and sometimes to this day I can hear her say that in the recesses of my mind.  I think its why that kind of humor still makes my skin crawl and I try to drown it out if I hear my girls engaging in it.
My mom's tone of voice changed and her very North Carolinian accent was instantly modified to one of some other unknown locale.  There was no accent, but rather a slight sense of superiority when those words came out. As if to say the phrase, "That's common!" denoted a parting with my mom's common every day voice…

Noticing November : Cranberries

November is the month of yellowing leaves fast falling over yards.
November is the month that all of the jack-o-lanterns start to droop and their cut out teeth curl up.
November means decidedly shorter days, time changes, and not-so-bright sunshine.
November is that in-between month.
It hovers between that brilliant jewel of October where Autumn blossoms full and the holiday spirit and incoming of Winter.
It comes in softly after Halloween festivities and closes out the Fall season with Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is my favorite.
I've always loved it.
I remember how hallowed that time was for me as a child and teenager.  It seemed like such a wonderful pause to reflect and be thankful and hold people close and still be outside.
I like it better than Christmas.
I think because it's not covered up in consumerism and glitz.  It's like a humble holiday.  At least until Black Friday hits.
The month that precedes up to November finds people posting things they are grateful for, …


When I saw this word for Friday I felt weary.  Like I had been on a journey for so long and felt like giving up so often.  Journey. It's the word of life. Really. It's what we are doing every day in and out as we spin daily around the sun, as all the seasons blur together, and we grow up and old.
I'd like to say the word journey makes me think of a caravan of backpackers participating in a monumental expedition.  People breathing thin air and breaking the barriers of normal human limits scaling Mt. Everest or Kilimanjaro.  Or Perhaps being like the young woman I met this summer who was eagerly awaiting her two week camping and rafting journey through the Grand Canyon by river.
But that's not what comes to mind.
When I think journey I think of running laps around a track.
It's kind of how I think of life. A track. We seem often times to be plodding around a track, running our laps daily, and it's not that exciting yet it is strenuous.  Different weather condi…

31 Days of Free Writes: Off & Weekend, 31 Lessons: Sabbath

The last two weekends (not this weekend at all) have found us with a delicious slice of Saturday sabbath.
Really.  Not many people live in that realm of placid weekends that drift slowly by to be savored and lingered over.  Definitely not our family.  Sunday has rarely ever felt like a day of rest for the entirety of my marriage.  (My husband has always been involved in some form of ministry)  Sundays can be fun, but they are also not restful. Especially with lots of little kids in the mix. Family events, church meetings, services, and miscellaneous preparations that fill Sunday evenings.   But sometimes there is a sabbath Saturday.   I say that smiling.  Two weeks in a row we had a Saturday that was filled with gloriously nothing.  I remember discussing with my husband our plans for the day.  "Well, there's this ____" the statement started and finished with some invitation or some proposed plan we could do. "But we don't have to do it. So let's not." I…

31 Days of Free Writes: Eat, 31 Life Lessons: Keep Connected

I smiled when I saw this word prompt because I had just eaten.
A lot.
Thursdays mean 'family dinners' with my parents, sister, and kids.
It's the one night that we are all free.
Usually what happens is that my mom cooks a feast.
Every Thursday.
Something new every week (with a few standards for picky kids).
A spread.
My mom is a wonderful cook.  There's no debating it.  She just really knows how to season food.  She always has. It's not bland.  It's layered with flavor.
Thursday evening finds us in our SUV, our tires fast swallowing the twelve minutes of road that stretches between my parents' house and mine.
We pull into the driveway careful to avoid the plants reaching out of the flower beds.
Doors slam before I can even unbuckle my seatbelt, my kids racing out of the car and up the front porch loudly ringing the door bell.  And theres my dad.  With twinkling eyes and a chipper,  "Why, Hello." A smile playing softly at the corners of …

31 Days of Free Writes: Study, 31 Lessons : Seize the Time

Monday is one of the sweetest days of my life.  That day, four years ago.
I got the October baby I had wished for. October, 24th, 2012.  A dark complected, bright eyed baby, cloaked with black hair.  Moriah.  My third girl.  I remember for so many reasons I had always wanted three girls.  A band of girls.
She was my final wish. I had always dreamed about having a harvest baby too. I love all my kids birthdays, but I enjoy her season and birthdate the most.  Because Moriah was the third and I was already deep in mothering two other girls she sometimes fell through the cracks. Many times.  I babied her the longest in nursing, but she didn't receive the same attention, the same hours of story reading, the same showering of undivided attention.  There was just too much going on.  I was homeschooling older girls too and as Moriah grew and toddled around she occupied herself mostly as the older girls and I did things.  She became quite the master of playing within her own imagination.  …