Simply writing about faith, family, and life stories.

413Have you ever been driving and come up to a circle intersection? It’s all kinds of fun. There really isn’t a stopping place. There is a lot of merging. It’s a crossroads in a round sort of way. Many years ago, I came to a circle intersection with my husband in the passenger seat. He started fussing at all the people who hesitated at that circle. I chuckled as he yelled, “Jump out there and be somebody!” It really is true. You can pause if you need to, but hesitating too long causes problems for everyone. A brief yield is all you need most of the time to ensure safety. You’ll never find the perfect go round by waiting. Chances are, if you jump out there, you’ll get somewhere faster.

Life feels like a circle intersection too. Also, when you don’t blog for a long time and it’s not part of your task list anymore and you have so much built up in your brain for writing it has meshed all together in this big blob of ideas, it feels like a circle intersection. And sometimes you feel like you should start with this great post to remind people why they used to read your blog. And so you just don’t. Or you jump out there and be somebody which is what I am doing today. I’m saying sayonara you dumb circle intersection of writing. I’m going somewhere Jack. Sorry if your name is Jack. I actually like that name.

Hey! We just returned from Yosemite National Park. So, in case you were keeping track or counting which I’m sure you wouldn’t keep track of my vacations….we have been to 6 national parks now! Yay! Aren’t you proud? I’m not really trying to go to all of them, but if we do, I will probably bragblog about it. I really want to tell you about our vacation, but I never finished telling you about last years. I might need to finish the Grand Tetons 2013 before you hear Yosemite 2014. But, I will give you a teaser.

Yosemite 2014

I glanced around at Claire and she was holding Matt’s hand and taking each step as it came. Her blonde hair bounced in her pony tail, and she didn’t say anything. I was behind Lydia who was heaving with every giant rock step. Her legs had carried her many miles already, and I was confident in her abilities to make it to the top. First you go uphill for about 3 miles to hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The trail has a good incline for some parts, and it is mostly wooded with rocks. Then you reach the end of the forest where a friendly park ranger sits on a rock with a tablet.

The park ranger took our names to check our Half Dome permits and asked me if all of the kids were going. I just nodded and said, “As far as they can.” “You’re the parent,” he said without condescension. Then you climb up rock. There are steep steps some of the way, and then there is granite that you kind of boulder up. This is the part I was on when I glanced back at Claire. I looked at Matt in question. His eyes held the same question and no answer. So, I turned around to follow Lydia. Anna and Maile were way ahead with their other cousins and my brother-in-law Cole. The rock went on forever and then finally we made it to the base of the Half Dome Cables. Everyone just stood there looking up at those cables with their hands on their hips. I could hear their thoughts, All that! And now this?!!!

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……To be continued……

What’s Next

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I know, I know. It was longer than 8 weeks. My sister-in-law Mattea keeps reminding me, “I’m tired of 8 Weeks. It still says that. I know, you’re probably saving it all for your book.” She’s smarmy. And if you don’t know that word, you’ve never hung out with Southeastern folks. I had to learn. I’m from Texas. We think we’re the only ones with our own vocab.

Endings. Endings are crazy, and fun, and relieving, and sad, and weird. But, also endings are beginnings, and I’ve been hanging in this in between space enjoying my ending but knowing it’s over. And, now.

What’s next?

It’s hard to cross the river sometimes. I liked just standing there and watching the water. There had been a lot of rain. It was hard. Some storms. The water was pretty muddy in places. The water had changed a lot. A lot. The water moves different now. It was fun to throw a few rocks in to see how deep it was. It was so very deep. I couldn’t tell you how deep. I kinda wanted to squish into it.

It was kind of like a cemetery on Mother’s Day. It catches your breath as you glance over making your way from place to place behind your wheel. There is beauty and love and life and death and you can’t stop looking and wondering how the cemetery could be so very beautiful and sad all at once. And then you know all at once that it never looks this beautiful. And then you know why and it all flows fast by you like this river that has had too much water dumped into it too very fast. It’s doing the best it can to move it. But there are stories of rock and sticky sticks that have formed places that are hard to get around.

And the water does move, the flowers flutter, and I’m still standing there with the breeze pulling my hair down.

But, there was life on the other side…some work…a good bit of work and some writing and some family to tend to and a diploma to frame and good grief loads and loads of laundry. And a summer. And a vacation to take so I can tell you about it. And a vacation I already had that I need to finish telling you about because there was greatness in it.

I made it across, and so did everyone else in my life. My chalk board’s been cleaned and has a bright new chalky list on it complete with deadlines. Cabinets are being cleaned out, and girls are groaning about the house clean out. I see their sneaky little secret smiles, though. They like the order that is coming about slow, but sure.

What’s next is good too. What’s next has lots of possibilities. What’s next has a little more sleep involved. What’s next is going to include a few mosquitoes, too. What’s next has different answers and also lots of questions. What’s next always includes a family, some guinea piggies, two dogs and a fish (Yay! I remembered Fin! Go Fin!). What’s next includes prayer and faith and girls growing up. What’s next has some deadlines and meetings and some hard honest writing.

What’s next might include some ordinary also. It’s okay to be ordinary…you can always add some extra in there and then there is greatness.

Wanna come with me to what’s next? Let’s go.

8 weeks

My eyes were burning, and I can hear Charles the guinea pig squealing for food. Claire wants a low pony tail, and Lydia wants two braids. Maile can’t find her jeans, and Anna doesn’t want to talk. I’m trying not to say the word tired anymore. But I applied the mascara anyways and yelled, “TEN Minutes!!!” Then I looked up and saw my shirt and gave myself a grade of C- in ironing. My ironing is getting worse in actually getting done and also in quality. My fingernails need help. My eyes are red. My stomach is starting to hate coffee. Matt is nightly folding laundry all over the living room. It makes me feel better to know he is addictedly watching Breaking Bad while he folds and sorts.

But, the announcements came today so it must be true. I’m about to graduate from Graduate School! OMG! I’m so excited.

I’ve set my sights on the goal. You should see my gaze. It’s a little gritty.

8 weeks must pass.

6 papers must be written.

8 weekly logs must be logged.

2 big projects.

Also, laundry has to keep going, kids need tending, dogs need food, guinea pigs need carrots, and this house needs something.

I’m glad Anna is feeding Fin because I forgot we had a fish. Sleep is not a priority right now. Academic excellence is. Making the most of this opportunity is. How much can I actually learn? Isn’t it exciting! It’s real. And so…I study and I research and I type. Isn’t it great?? It’s that season of brushing everything to the side, and focusing.

It’s just for a little while, and I want to knock this out of the park. Don’t you? Being delirious and focused also makes you stop, sit down and watch Gnomeo and Juliet with your kids for a bit and laugh loudly. It also warrants some dancing in the kitchen with said girls, and slow moments at bedtime you take with them even though you don’t have time. I’m giving up free time for Lent to accomplish this thing I’ve been working on for months. And, I’ve been thinking. Everyone should go hard after a goal like this…it’s so good for you. But, I’m so excited to finish this thing and move onto the next goal…like blog more or finish writing the book.

This is a focused time for lots of folks because it’s Lent. It’s a good time to do hard things.

So, bring it. Let’s go. I’m ready.  Are you ready?

Keeping It Real

I wish you could see my face right now. I have a green mask on. I like to scare my children. Not really. I just have to deal with this mid-life acne somehow. I like keeping it real, but not enough to show you my green face. I know I’ve been gone, but you’re okay without me. I’m sure you’ve moved on to some other blogger who thinks they’re funny or insightful. Well, just come over here for a second. I’ve been staying up late all week working on a project so I’ll keep it short and super scattered. In the history of this blog, the weirdest and most random posts always follow a week of little sleep. You’re welcome and you’ve been warned.

All day I’ve been singing Huey Lewis. I know that ages me, but I’m fine with that. What happened to him? I don’t really want to Google that.
Also, Huey Lewis makes me think of Back to the Future. I loved that movie.

The Olympics are killing me. I need to be watching them like I need more wrinkles. In fact, I’m probably getting more wrinkles because of the Olympics because I am getting less sleep. Hey, at least the US has the most medals. Maile pointed out that its because we have the most bronze. Thank goodness for honest kids keeping us humble.

I clipped guinea pig toenails tonight. I didn’t sign up for this. How many things can you say that about?

We have a new family member! My brother-in-law gave my daughter a fish for her birthday. His name is Fin. Top Fin really, but Fin for short. It’s cool. But, now we have another pet. He’s British I think. I talk to him in a British accent at least.

I’m over committed. I like it like that. I’m just confessing it to you. It’s probably not going to change. But I like to get off the train  and sit for awhile.

I miss my Mama always. She was such a pretty lady. Her eyes were a very interesting blue. I can’t describe them very well, but they always made me wish I had blue eyes.

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We are passionate people. Passionate people have passionate children. This makes for a loud home, fight potential, a little dancing,  and lots of love.  And unexpected, real Valentines.

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I love that girl.

Speaking of girls, one of my daughters has decided to speak in different accents constantly. It brings me to tears in laughter at times. Then I begin to join in. Of course, I think she got it from me. There’s one in particular that is my favorite. She hasn’t done it in awhile. I found myself asking her in a sad voice this morning if she was done with it. She said NO! I was so happy to hear that.

Happy Friday!

On Quoting and Blogs

Quoting on WordPress is weird. You can quote me on that. It looks like this.

But then you have to stop the quote. It’s like stopping the press. I’m picking up more quotes this week than the junk laying around my house. It’s been fun. Did you ever stop and think bloggers have it together? I think there are a million jillion killian blogs out there in the world. Lots. Heaps and heaps. I went to Australia once. They said heaps  a lot. They don’t say bunches. They say heaps and other words like yonks. I liked it there. Anyways, sometimes I feel like we (bloggers) are all trying to offer you advice. Maybe not. Many are just offering assistance or pleasantries or lists or their two bits. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of advice. We can sound like we have it all together. I’d like to break the barrier between us and tell you something. Nope. No. We don’t. We do not have it all together.

I’ll start by telling you about the hair balls under my bed. I dropped my work name tag somewhere in my room and got down on the floor to look. You could weave a rug with all the dust and hair and dog hair under there. Yep. It’s nasty. I commented on it. Then, I put my coat on and went to work and left that hairball to gather more bulk. Also, I don’t bathe my dogs enough. And last night was one of the worst dinners I ever made. I was dishing it out and everyone was asking me what smells so bad. I was talking up this bean soup that Mattea gave me and all I had to do was warm up and couldn’t understand all the fussing until I took my first bite. Ugh. It was so gross. I had burned the tar out of it. Burned kale all in that bean soup. Close your eyes and picture how my hairball house smelled. Maile went outside. I had a loaf of wheat French bread I had warmed too, and the girls watched me amused trying to wipe the burnt nasty off my tongue with a big piece of bread. I kept eating it. I wanted to be a good example which brings me to my first quote. They were yelling at me to stop eating it. I was cringing with every bite.

Waste not, want not.

I chimed this and Maile said:

Well, I want not any of that soup, so I’m good. And please don’t eat any more of it Mom!

We’ve been doing a lot of math homework around here lately. It’s been a little painful. I just want you to know I win the prize for the best in long-division in our family. :) I was thanking everyone for my accomplishment, and then I told the girls that I wasn’t great at math in school but I loved division. I also had a great relationship with algebra. I got along great with fractions and decimals, but geometry and I just didn’t work out. I told them I didn’t find trigonometry attractive, but I did connect with elementary analysis. And then one of my daughters stopped me and said:

Whoa, whoa. What is trigonometry…is that like shapes?

And then I had a little doubt moment with our public school system. And then I remembered homeschooling Anna. And then I remembered how much I love public school. But, sometimes we still teach at home. Tonight we had a political science lesson. We watched the STOU address with the kids tonight. Lydia came in and asked me to tell her who the men were behind the President. She ran out of the room and came back with the Wii microphone and kept getting in front of the television. We were fussing at her and then I realized she was holding the microphone out for John Boehner. “What are you doing?” I asked.

She giggled all sparkly and said:

Well, you said he is the Speaker, but he won’t speak!

We all laughed. I still can’t believe she’s so funny because she didn’t talk much her first few years of life. Before bouncing back out of the room she said:

I want to be the President! Hey! I’m going to be the first girl President everybody!

You go, girl. Go on now.

We always have clothing issues. I can’t keep up with all these little bodies growing. Claire doesn’t like to give up the clothes she likes even if they are too little, and Maile’s legs keep growing. We were talking about their jeans this week, and Maile said:

I guess we all wear high-waters now. You like my high-waters? I’m waitin’ for a flood, Mom!

I appreciate her comedic responses more than I can tell you. And don’t worry we are getting new jeans. Anna couldn’t find the right socks the other day and this is what she prefaced her groan with:

I know this is like…a first-world problem and all that…but I can’t find the right socks for my Converse.

Um, make that my Converse that she stole. Hmph. I love her. If she’s going to have a global perspective, she can have all my shoes. Well, that’s going a bit too far because I really like some of my shoes. But, you know what I mean; she is growing up. We went to the high school tonight for her 8th grade preview. High School. It was interesting. Her response:

It’s hard to think about the future. It’s so unknown and I don’t like it.

I said: Yes, but the unknown is more real than the known.

And then I paused to take in my own words. She stared at me. I mentioned something about taking hold of the unknown and braving the adventure, but it’s hard. We all hate to acknowledge our lack of control. I’ve been reflecting a lot on this little blog and the point of it and all that mumbo-jumbo. So, let’s be straight with each other. I’m not really here to give you advice. Maybe sometimes, but I’m a little broken just like you. I don’t always scrub my bathtubs as much as I should. I don’t always like doing my kid’s hair. I’m not always content, and I have days just like you where I doubt my faith and I kinda wish I was somewhere else. This is honest space here. We have to laugh. I want to be real. And I want you to know that there are dark spaces that everyone goes through. There is light there too.

And God is here with us in the real unknown.

And not just in quotes.

Candid in NOLA

Once upon a time I went to New Orleans for the weekend with three of my sisters-in-law.
To be perfectly candid with you, we had a lovely time. We also decided to take as many candid photos as we could. I’ve decided to let you experience our trip through our photos. But, I do have a few things to say along the way.

1. I love beignets. Who doesn’t? You should go to Cafe Du Monde once in your life. Trust me.

2. I love oysters. I didn’t know this. You should go to the Acme Oyster Company even if you think you don’t like oysters.

3. I love listening to live jazz music. Plus I love that on a sunny bright morning in the middle of a Royal Street, this 3 man band asked us for a song request in this order: Country or Blues? Happy or Sad?

4. I love candid photos. Also I love semi-candid photos.

5. I loved our hotel. Supposedly it is haunted. I didn’t notice anything weird. The only thing is that a guy was leaving the hotel in his underwear one night when we were walking out the door on the way to our dinner place. He was a little disoriented. I think.

6. Bloody Mary’s are a thing in NOLA. You should try one. You might like it. Unless you don’t drink alcohol. My favorite thing about this drink was the pickled green bean on the side. It was yummy. Hey, did you know that New Orleans never ever follow the Prohibition Act? Nope. They said no thanks. And then politicians would vacation there so they could have a cocktail.

7. I want to play the spoon/washboard thing sometime. It’s very loud.

8. The Court of Two Sisters jazz brunch is a very lovely experience. Very.

9. I love history tours and cemetery tours. I learned about the burial process in the above ground cemeteries. Plus, I stood in the very same cemetery that Ashley Judd was buried alive in the movie Double Jeopardy. :) Also I saw John Goodman’s home. And Sandra Bullock’s vacation home. You should go.

Enjoy the trip! We did!

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For Next Sunday

Hey! How are ya? I’m working on my Candid in NOLA post, but it’s not ready for you yet. But here is a preview photo that is not actually from our trip, but it is a food hint…

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Anyways! I’m over here today. You should check it out!

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