Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Rose By Any Other Name is Still a Rose

Right up front, I just want to say that this post is not meant to be devisive.  I truly believe that the opinions expressed on this blog are my very own.  No Toms, Dicks, or Harrys need be offended, these are simply my musings.  To each his own, what's good for the goose is not always good for the gander, and so on and so forth, blah, blah, blah...

I have been a parent for 18 years now.  It has been the BEST job I have ever had.  Really, there has been nothing like investing in the lives of our children, all six of them. Watching them grow and change from day to day.  Watching them meet physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and social milestones.  Hovering over them in seasons, letting them fly in others.  Always praying for them, rooting for them, and sometimes correcting them when warranted.  Being a parent is not for the faint of heart and I have definitely NOT "arrived".  I still have much to learn and our children are some of the best teachers.

One of the most important lessons that our kids have taught me is that love has no boundaries.  You can't place labels on love.  It is such a profound concept, a precious endless commodity.  Being a parent places you in the very essence of love. Specifically, being a mother, brings love that is so intense and all-consuming that it is sometimes hard to discern where I end and where my children begin.  I believe "mother love" is an "all-in" place of the heart and soul.

We have six children. Some were birthed from my womb.  Some were not birthed from my womb.  All were birthed in my heart.  All have had my heart from day one.  All have had my "mother love" heart and soul.  All have been called my children. My sons and daughters.  My cherished gifts from God. All have called me "Mom", "Mommy", "Mama", "Mother", "Madre".  None have called me, "Step Mom" or "Step Mother".  It's that simple.  Just like adopted children do not refer to their parents as "Adopted Mom" or "Adopted Dad".  As a sister of brothers, who were adopted, I have always known my brothers as my brothers.  As a daughter of a dad who didn't father me, I have always called my dad, "Dad". And the dad who fathered me was, "Dad" too. Both have always had my whole heart.

And I don't call my mother-in-law, "Mother-in-Law", she's "Mom" to me.  I have two loving, moms, actually I have many "mother figures" in my life.  You can never have too much "mother love", in my opinion.

Our six children are all brothers and sisters.  There's never been "half brother" this or "half sister" that.  They are wholly loved by each other.  This is truth in our family.

So, I know there are social niceties that dictate social gatherings and often introductions come with labels, but in our family, love has these labels:  Dad, Mom, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister...Family.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Negative Nelly or Nancy or Ned.

1. Yoga intimidates me because, well, gas and also contorting into positions that promote the expelling of gas and all of that coupled with deep inhaling and exhaling.  Inhaling...exhaling...inhaling...gas. Nope.

2.  I'd rather scrub a toilet than ice skate. You can't break a bone or lacerate yourself when you fall in the toilet. Yes, I said "when" not "if". Don't ask...

3.  I don't do dark places.  My sister and I helped create that little phobia in our tween years as we watched horror movie marathons all summer long.  Thank you Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, and Jason (whatever-your-last-name-is) for contributing to my unnatural fear of that dark space under my bed.

4.  Onions are evil little food ruiners.  Leeks, shallots and chives are equally as guilty. Funyuns, that Bloomin Onion thing, and onion rings are foods from Hades. I once dated a guy who ate red onions ALL THE TIME!!!! Then, to add insult to injury, he would chew Big Red gum to freshen his breath.  Because nothing is more attractive and aromatic than the fresh smell of onions and cinnamon. fresh.

5.  My feet are tactilely defensive.  Even when my feet touch each other, it's so wrong.  My feet can not, I repeat, can not be dirty, or dry, or sandy, or touched. And for the record, I won't touch your feet.    I have a reoccurring nightmare in which I am Kung Foo fighting my way out of a nail salon with six ninja nail techs chasing after my feet with their pumice stones.

6.  Hats off to those of you who can wear hats.  Hats do not work for me since I have enough hair for ten people.  Hats always look like they are going to launch off my head at any minute.  T-minus 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 LIFT OFF! We have lift off of another failed attempt to contain a mane that needs its own zip code.

7.  I just can't justify a power nap.  If I'm going to take a nap, it is going to be a darn good one.  None of this 15 minute crap.  Nope.  Bring on the 2 hour deal with full on drool and snore.   I'm not playing.

8.  Board games.  I've tried and I just can't.  Really, I am over feeling inadequate about this.

9.  I make berry smoothies to stay healthy and all that I get is freaking seeds in my teeth.  Then, for the rest of the day, I gouge my tongue on my teeth trying to dislodge seeds. It's exhausting and my tongue hurts.

10.  Lipstick on my teeth.  Constantly happens. My tongue is always running defense.  I feel like a model in a Pearl Drops Toothpaste ad (If you are old enough to get that reference, then high five sister or brother).



Friday, March 20, 2015

Now That's Tacky!

Creepiest picture ever!
For me, it's all about the day in and day out stuff in life.  You know, like when your 10 year old daughter very sweetly reminds you that her school uniform pants have "that hole in the knee" from her dramatic playground wipeout last week, and now it's 8:57 PM the night before school and you are up to your eyeballs in after dinner dishes and trying to remember the lyrics to "Owner of a Lonely Heart" for you insistent six year old who must be serenaded to sleep every.single.night and YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO SEW OR CARRY A TUNE!!!

But wait!!! Just wait!!!! You suddenly (by the grace of God) remember that the blessed "nectar of the craft world" is sitting in your utility drawer just waiting to be put on the front lines of your hole-y war. You reach into that drawer that hasn't been cleaned out since Reagan was in office, and you grab that bottle of gooey-goodness and squeeze, squeeze, bang on the top, squeeze again, curse the maker of the gosh-darn, micro-tiny, ever-clogged nozzle opening, and get the brilliantly desperate idea (isn't there a saying that goes, "Desperation is the mother of invention?") to use a wooden skewer to unclog that sucker.

And then, with a snippety snip of the ole kitchen shears, you proceed to perform nothing short of a miraculous transformation from pants to shorts.  And to further prove your awesomeness as a resourceful mom (ahem, you could insert lazy or crazy here) you take that unclogged glue bottle and you glue the hem of those pants like nobody's business!  Finally, you sit back and look at your masterpiece and marvel at the miracle that is Arlene's Tacky Glue.

Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I roll!  Just don't ever ask me sing the correct lyrics to  "Owner of a Lonely Heart" because that ain't happening ;-)



Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cafe is Glad!

And now, in order to get your week off to an amazing start, here is a thought provoking poem from a Japanese shopping bag. 



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Intentionally Relational

Intentionally Relational.  That's it.  That's my "catch phrase" for the new year approaching.  It's so much more than catchy phrase or lofty ideal.  It is my heart's desire.  My passion.  I love people. I love nurturing heart connections. I love communicating openly, lovingly, and intentionally.  It is not always easy though.

Have you ever felt misunderstood?  Misrepresented?  Misplaced in the grand scheme of life and love?  Of family and friends? It stinks, it hurts, it really crushes if you are someone who really loves being relational.  Someone who loves deeply, can grieve deeply when that love is not reciprocated or when that love is misunderstood.  

Some people invest most of their lives communicating love to their family and friends.  Actions often speaking louder than words.  Parents experience this with their children.  A parent's needs are often secondary to that of her children.  The need for her children to feel loved, cherished, and protected is primal, a part of her innermost being. Spouses experience this as they row through life's waters together.  Sometimes bailing out the boat and other times gliding down the stream with relative ease, but all the while communicating love and commitment. 

This year has definitely held many amazing moments.  So many celebrations have taken place in my heart and in the hearts of those that I love. Thankfulness abounds!  If I were being very honest though, I would have to say that this year has also been a very heartbreaking year.  I have felt misrepresented, misplaced, and above all misunderstood for quite some time now. I have done some serious soul searching to see how I can change this tide, how to navigate this stormy side of life that honestly caught me off guard.  Maybe that is a problem in itself.  Being "on guard" hardly allows for intentional, honest communication.  Relationships suffer if walls are built up to shelter the heart.  

So, although it may be "safer" to retreat into our self made shelters, are we really being relational?  Are we sincerely seeking to intentionally connect our hearts with others even if we may be disappointed from time to time?  Or even if we may be the source of disappointment from time to time?  

Being intentionally relational is experiencing life on life with others.  No holds barred.  No barriers. Loving others where they are.  Loving others for who they are.  Believing the best about others.  Asking the sometimes tough questions and COMMUNICATING in order to alleviate any false assumptions. Looking at the big picture.  Being focused on someone's heart and not their flaws because really, we are all flawed.  Above all, in my mind,  being intentionally relational is seeking the very best for other people.  Giving them our very true selves.  The real us.  No walls, no falsehoods, no judgements, no selfish conditions.  Only love and life.  That's my heart's desire.  That's my passion. 

Intentionally relational.  That's my catch phrase for 2015.  How about you?  What is your desire for this new year ahead?



Monday, December 22, 2014

Unopened Gifts

The gifts were already open. The long dreamed of toy kitchen sat staring blankly, oven door open in a silent scream, plastic food chewed.  Shredded wrapping paper, busted game pieces, and crushed ornaments littered the living room floor.  The tree tilted awkwardly toward the broken sliding glass door as if it were trying desperately to escape the sad little scene. 

Oh, that Christmas so, so long ago.  Two tiny broken hearts amidst all those broken toys.  Broken door, broken dreams, broken family...

Christmas may be the hardest time of the year for some people.  All the "togetherness" of the season accentuates the loneliness of those who are grieving.  Grieving the loss of a loved one, the death of a dream.  Broken hearts, broken homes.  

We can offer gifts to those who are lost and lonely by being there for them. Opening our hearts and homes to those who need love and comfort.  We can share our faith, our food, our families and friends.  So many unopened gifts...



Thursday, October 23, 2014

One Day

Wednesday, I participated in an inspiring photo journaling project called One Day. The One Day Project (#OneDayHH) was hosted via Instagram by one of my favorite bloggers, Laura Tremaine, of the Hollywood Housewife blog ( 

Pictures are one of my passions in life, right along with anything chocolate and peanut butter, coffee, and sleeping children. So, Wednesday I had a great time photographing many of the seemingly mundane aspects of our life. Here are some of the pictures and a few thoughts that I shared on Instagram at the end of One Day.