Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I tried - reading the Divergent series {November reads and December deeds}

Hey cozy friends,

That time of year where we all want to sit next to a fire place, fill our bodies with hot drinks, and just be warmed by one another's love.


We are already 1/5 into December and I am just now getting around to post about November's book, wrap up the month and look forward to what is ahead.

November was lovely.  I decided to take a small break from facebook - deleted the app.  It was nice not being plugged in all of the time.  I thought I would miss people's lives or articles or funny clips.  And I might have missed those, but instead I gained TIME!  I was able to really focus on what is important.

I truly believe because I removed one distraction from my life allowed for another to move in - reading!  Although not a bad distraction, what I was reading could have been more beneficial.

November I read not just one, not just two, but three books.  I read the entire Divergent Series by Veronica Roth!

These are fun young-adult dystopian fiction stories. The best part of reading these books was getting to discuss them with my students.  I would spot a cover of one of the books and instantly be able to strike up a conversation with them.  Acknowledging them and their choices   - making their day.

The books are good, and at times the "romance" for 16 year olds was a bit too much or adult-like.  But over all I enjoyed the books.  If you are looking to buy books for a teenager this holiday season, I would highly recommend these.

Now on to December. 

I have not yet made any goals or commitments.
I have not yet written down any scripture or prayer focus.
I have not yet written down any to-do's or projects.

My focus for this month:
Read - Glory Happening by Kaitlin Curtice  (a high school friend of mine).  It should arrive at our house on Friday!!
Scripture - I am currently still in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and appreciate reading through Romans and really getting a better understanding of it.  I am also following along with my husband's Advent Project: here.
Health - For the past few months I have been hanging around the 158-161 range.  Which is great that I have not gained any weight I've lost back; but still frustrating at times that I have not seen any changes.  But healthy focus and not vain perception is important too!

Don't let the to-do list, the events, the pinterest perfect ideas get in the way of what matters this season.

People matter.

Love you all,
A mom who tries

Friday, November 3, 2017

I tried - The Turquoise Table {October book and November update}

October I finished leading a group through "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  We started it in September, so I wanted to read another book for October.  I choose "The Turquoise Table" by Kristin Schell.

The Turquoise Table was more than a book.  Seriously, it is like pinterest, instagram and facebook all rolled into one.  It was more than a book for it had recipes, quizzes, places to journal and take notes even check out her cute ideas on page 83.  The book included pictures, beautiful pictures, and quotes and other words of encouragement that make you enjoy the book just a little bit deeper. 

A beautiful piece of literature. 

The book starts off explaining the back story of where the table came from, but then it goes deeper into why it's important for our neighborhoods to have a table like this. 

I kept coming up with excuses and reasons why I couldn't (EVEN THOUGH I DESPERATELY WANT TO) do this. 

We live on a hill - where does the table go?
I have little ones - where do they play? In the street?
My neighbors work nights, move frequently, hardly home?
What if we move soon - is it rude to set people up to let them down?
Does this have to be me a "me" thing or a "family" thing?
Where do we find the money to buy a table?

Seriously, I had every excuse under the sun to not make community a priority. 
Here are some little truth bombs or quotes from the book that I love and will use to help me make my excuses into a thing of the past.

* Romans 12:13 - take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.   Hospitality.
* To be present, the only UNwelcome or not invited guests are the iphone and other technology.

* I can be an "embassy of the kingdom of heaven"

* WE all need the table.  It's community.  We need to gather.

* There is a difference between being and doing.  "You can tell what people are doing if you take time to notice."

* We are able to love because we were first loved.

* "We are all broken, that's how the light gets in." - Hemingway

* The more vulnerable we are, the longer the table we will need.

* Page 142 "The most beautiful people I know were their imperfection with grace and confidence."

* A HUGE difference between Hospitality and Entertainment.  Hospitality is serving, brokenness is welcome, non-judgement, grace, NO to-dos, A HAPPENING. Entertainment is "me" focused, pinterest perfect, judgement of self and event that occurs after a list of to-do's are complete.

* Page 147 "Part of loving others is allowing them to love us too."

* You need to hold the bucket sometimes for someone else, or yourself.  Word vomit is a thing.

* The ministry of presence is something worth praying for every day.

* People are hungry, craving for connection and community, a place to belong. 

The book had so much more wisdom and experience to share through her own and others stories.  This is a great book and I give it 5 stars.  A quick great read.  If you are wanting to change up your neighborhood, this is a great place to start.

November is underway already and I haven't taken the time to update on our goals.  It seems like yesterday that I started tracking and looking for goals.  This month I really want to focus on self communication. 

I often feel isolated and alone, so in order to help with not realizing it, I deleted the facebook app off of my phone.  I haven't figured out the game plan - other than I don't want to be on there any more; or as much.  I find myself wasting time reading articles, looking at pictures, or watching videos that have no regards to improving my life.  I can find the news through other means.  I can reach out and pray for friends by actually connecting to them.

Documenting the boys and sharing the joy they bring us with family and real friends.

I can still text pictures or even email.  I can do a "mass" end of the month "share" of what the kiddos have been up to.

Missing events around the community and social circles.

Personal invites are a thing that we should bring back.  Jeremiah is still on facebook and can keep us in the loop. We can also look for things on the weekends.

Reaching out and praying for people

Use other communication.

Feeling isolated and alone.

Interactions that due occur will be genuine and out of true love and interest, verses conveniently scrolling through my life tossing out thumbs up. 

Other things I would like to focus on during this free time.... I am going to read Divergent by Veronica Roth (I know, I am a little late to the fad) and who knows, I might be able to read the sequel too.

I would also like to continue to document our joy as a family and focus on each other, gratitude and grace. 

My physical health is always of importance; but mental and spiritual health have to be balanced in order to achieve that. 

Here's to November of peace, pausing, and true growth.  <3

I tried - friendship

Dear Friendship

Now I lay you down to rest,
For honestly, I have given it my best.

I am tired and weak from all that you have done.
We had a good race, maybe one of the longest.
But you have moved on, to pursue others, and honest
I am not surprised at what is coming.

Goodbyes are never easy.
They break and crack ones heart.
I will and have always been here for you.
But now it's just too hard.

Excuses are what I have heard;
A different season and time too short.
Excuses are what I hear
For your actions speak louder than words.

Goodbyes are not for ever,
But we face them now together.

My dearest friendship,
I love you deeply and hate to see you go.
The moment has come for me to say.

an old friend

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me too - An open letter to women and October

Dear October,

You didn't give us much room to breathe after September (suicide awareness month). But here we are, in the middle of it.  Facing breast cancer awareness but also infant and child loss awareness don't forget national coming out day and now there is a call to the "me too" movement advocating on behalf of women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

You make my heart heavy,

Dear Women,

To the women who are currently suffering, have had conquered, or grieving the loss of those battling breast cancer; you are strong and courageous! I literally have sat at my computer screen for minutes, trying to orchestrate the words that share my heart; but only silence is played. The battle you are facing is not one that people envy you for.  Thank you for being beautiful in all moments and stages of life; from the hair loss, to breast removal surgeries, to the inside as your heart going through times of being bitter and angry to finding life once more. You are not alone, you are loved.  

To the women who have lost a child or infant. This is a topic, in my opinion, that our society and our churches do not speak on enough, giving it the light and justice that it deserves.  Truth be told, this is a topic that I am not very good at navigating myself. So many variables to how you are handling and processing these major events of your life.  Stories after stories; I had a facebook friend share a picture of her box that holds treasured memories of her son's passing - something that took leaps and bounds to not only open, but open for all to see, letting us into her heart.  I can't imagine what one goes through day to day knowing a child is gone. Reading this article, about a family who donated their daughters organs, making a sacrifice to share life in the midst of loss.  My very own student showing me her baby brother's ashes that she binds around her neck, close to her heart, a beautiful necklace she just got today.  To all of my friends and family who I have cried with, hugged, and loved on during these tragic events, there are far too many. These stories are important, your child is not and will not be forgotten.  You are not alone, you are loved. 

To the women coming out. October 15th came and went and for those who were brave enough used the day to share their story. I personally want to step up on a soap box, I hate how a person has to be "brave" in order to be themselves, it bothers me (gets off soap box)... please keep sharing your stories.  I am listening. For my female friends who have already faced the masses, thank you.  Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your life, learning to judge less and care more. You have taught me so much.  You are appreciated! Your story matters. You are not alone, you are loved. 

To the women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. You are not a victim. You were not "asking" for it. It was unwelcome, not invited, uncomfortable, forced, and something - that no matter what you do - will never go away. From physical touch to hurtful words, the scars that are left will never heal fully; shaping you daily into the person you are.  The movement "me too," starting on twitter, has been sweeping social media.  This letter is for you, that as you type those words "me too" I hope that you feel welcomed into a sisterhood of understanding, grace, and compassion.  That as you slowly tell your story, leaving or including as many details as you wish, healing will take place; a process that takes time. I want you to know that you ARE worthy. You ARE important.  I believe you. Tell me your "me too". You are not alone, you are loved. 

This letter is for all women.  Through stories (and sometimes coffee) we bind ourselves back together, weaving a tighter sisterhood.  If I could only reach through the screen and wipe away your tears I would. If I could only gently grasp your shoulders, drawing you into a hug, letting your rest your head on my shoulder - I'd carry that for you. If just for a moment I could stop time and let you take that deep heavy sigh and catch your breath, I'd wish it in an instnat.  You are not alone, you are loved. 

We all have a story. I am more than another number.  I am more than a statistics.  I am a me too. 

You are not alone, you are loved,
~Megan #metoo

PS - A letter is a form of communication, please feel free to write, message, text, call, e-mail me so we can continue our communication and sharing stories.  If possible, let's schedule time. I want to hear your story.
PPS - Men, yes I understand you can have breast cancer, loose a child, come out and be sexually harassed - you are loved too. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I tried - joy {September book and update}

Hi everyone!
It is that time. My post slow down as life rushes around. My plans focus on educating 126 young minds all while having a functional hospitable home, doing both with love.

Y'all, it's exhausting.

For the past six weeks I lead a Facebook group, reading through Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" - and although at first her over poetic flowery word choice was a bit much for my dry soul, I learned to love her words - they, her words, could take scripture and etch it deeper within my heart.  I think at the start I was just jealous that I couldn't write as eloquently as her.

When I started reading this book in September, I also starting writing down 3 joys, gifts, happy moments on a piece of paper.  Listing out on the times that brought cheer.   Some of my favorites include: 
undisturbed water droplets on a yellow leaf spotted when running in the rain
squeals of laughter as the youngest plays snake and squirms down the hall after older brother
reading books to a babe with lavender smelling hair
raining Saturdays with slow non-rushed starts
parking lot conversations with new friends
chick-fil-a (gotta keep it real)
someone asking if I am okay and wanting to listen 

I have now been listing for 41 days.

It's changing me. Just as Ann experienced in her highly recommended book.

Today's list:
asked to cuddle with oldest
moments to read another book

run in a long sleeve shirt clearing my head

This time of year is my favorite, but I also tend to drown in facts of my reality and loneliness.  My phone lies idle, my e-mail box empty, mail box vacant, truly just alone. As an introvert, I often prefer to gain energy being alone or in small intimate groups.  But this is the dark alone, not one of energy.  And as every year past, as long as I can remember, time will move on and self pity will weaken transitioning into go-mode again.

So I list, and once I find my joy, I cling to it.

On occasion my oldest, who's 5, has been asking me to cuddle with him, he use to want to sleep in our bed at the start of every school year.  Unknowingly I thought that it was because he missed me going back to work, he too could feel the crispness, the turning, the sense of "sighs."

Now, I realize my little-man didn't need me, God designed him because I needed to find joy.  God gave me the biggest gift I could have asked for (next to transforming me and my husband into Christians).  He gave me a son, who at a very young age, knows how to care.

Tonight when he asked me to cuddle him, minutes after prayers (naturally I am already tucked in my blanket with a book) I tell him I will be in in one minute, never have regretted spending time with him/

I climb the ladder to his creaky loft bed.  Oh, why did we buy a loft bed?  As I am climbing I tell him I am getting to big for his bed and don't want to break it.  He responds with "would you like an animal, here's a blanket, you aren't too big, you are perfect."

I take the big monkey (technically it was mine from years, decades, ago) and pull the blanket up around my shoulders.  We are finding peace in the midst of our chaos. I can feel his breaths slow as I know it won't take long for him to be asleep.  I smell the children's toothpaste, thankful that he brushed. I kiss his sweet forehead.  The same head that use to carry a huge red angel kiss birth mark.  The same forehead that holds incredible thoughts and dreams.

A sweet little voice simply says "Thank you."
"Thank you for what?" I ask.
"For kissing me."
"I will always kiss you."
"Even when I am older?"
"Yes, you won't be able to stop me."
"I can't wait for you to visit me in my house when I am older."
"Yes, our visits will be grand.  I love that you dream and think about your future, but don't grow up too fast."
"Why not?"
"I like you just as you are, my son, my five year old."
"Mommy, I will always be your son."
"I will always be your mommy."

With that he takes his perpetually sticky hands and holds my face. "Thank for cuddling with me." Then kisses my forehead.

No my dearest child,  THANK YOU.  Thank you for asking me to cuddle.  Thank you for reminding me that I am needed and loved.  Thank you for being joy.

PS - totally read her book.  It's good. =]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I tried - the news

Dear Heavenly Father, 

My heart is tearing like the veil. 
The news. Cops making MY friends, GODS children walk into on coming traffic - yelling at her and her 1 year old son.  I am outraged. Protect them. ALL of them. Black lives matter - they are white but were peacefully loving their black family, neighbors, friends - their home. 
The news. A local teenager took their life. A home is missing their son.  
The news. Earthquakes destroying, fires burning, droughts in Africa - Mother nature is raging war globally. Homes no longer standing in existence. 
The news. Our country might be bombed; by a person, another human - that others have degraded by calling him rocket man.  (Because that's professional).  Home of the brave we claim? 
The news.  Our president.  Sigh.  He needs prayer. Break him. Humble him. Use his loud mouth. I pray the loudness will be truth one day.  So our home will continue to pray for leaders. 
The news. Unwanted relations. Be with the children. Heal their hearts, bodies and mind.   Make home safe again. 
The news. People are fleeing. They have no home. 
The news. Explaining accidents to my kindergartener, again, as we drive home. 
The news. Another job loss. Another home facing foreclosure. 
The news. Another child hungry. Another homeless friend. 
The news. Another marriage ending. Another home torn. 
The news. Another miscarriage occurred. Home is in deep sorrow. 
The news. Another sick loved one; surgery, cancer, illness. Hospitals unfortunately more frequented than home. 
The news. 

I. Am. Overwhelmed. 
The news is, I look forward to Heaven.  The news will be different there. This world is not my home. 

God - as you and only you search my heart, may you find the words to my prayer, for this world is falling apart one stitch at a time. Being ripped. 

Thank you for the GOOD news. We fervently await your return to take us home.  

God, I ask that when given the opportunity I can love people better. Feed the hungry. Welcome the stranger. Hug the hurting. Stand with the black, refugee, homeless, gay, orphaned person.  God,I cry from the pits of my soul to do more.  

But. I am at home. So I pray. 

The news. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I tried - reading Mississippi Bridge [September book and updates]

September!  Hooray!  

This month I started an online book club/study to read Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts"

So far, the book is going really well - in fact it is a quick read.  I am doing my best to slow down, really dig deep and get into this book; not just to be a good facilitator for these women, but to find peace for myself.

Fall is my favorite, and as I am sure I have blogged before, although fall is my favorite, it is also a somewhat sad time.  I just feel like I need more time to enjoy it - that it this is my time to find my pace and speed for the next season of life.

One Thousand Gifts couldn't have come at a more perfect time!  Because we are reading the book over a period of 6 weeks, I wanted to keep reading other books, being engaged.

Labor Day my dad gave me a book and said it would take only 20 minutes.  Well, I'm a slow reader, but it was done in less than an hour.

Mississippi Bridge is a short book by Mildred D. Taylor (she wrote Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry).   I was doing research for what age the book would be good for (5th grade) but honestly, I would love for some adults to read this amazing piece of fiction.

It is so incredibly relevant to today.  How, even today, there are people who are teaching their children hatred (and some do it without even knowing they are!).  But for some children, they will "rebel" and fight for what they want to understand better - loving people.

The ending is great!  No spoilers here, just read the book yourself!

Believe me, it reminds me of the story of the Old Man his White Horse - Perspective.

Perspective is everything.
This book hurt me to read, how people are so ignorant and unkind. Perspective.
I am torn between wishing I lived in a previous time period or not.  That I would be an activist, if I didn't get myself killed. Perspective.
The ending. Perspective.

So, Here's to a great month.  A great season. A season of peace and gifts.  A season to love and be present.  A season to be outside, reading, educating and helping others.