Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Can't get on top of things today

There is dust.
A pile of bills and papers.
Stuff in my 31 bag that I didn't bother to put away after catapult making.
(Like loose mini marshmallow and rubber bands and Popsicle sticks.)
Seeds in packs to be started in wee greenhouses.
Seeds yet to b ordered, how can that be?
And all I want is a nap on this

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We combat nature deficit disorder

(Read Richard Louv's Last Child in the woods to learn about nature deficit disorder.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting the hang of it

To be honest, I don't even know what I mean by the title of this post.  It just sums up the sense of life I have lately.  I've blogged (and talked to friends) at length about how happy this whole scout leader thing has made me.  But it's more than happiness.  It's a feeling that this is what I was meant to do.

A confession: at an earlier stage in life I was planning on attending the seminary.  I felt called to the ministry.  I felt it when my mom died.  Deeply.  The moment was when I was sitting with her in the hospital, waiting for her to die.  She was comatose, and had been for some number of days. There was an older woman down the hall in the hospice area, all alone, and every time I passed by her room I could hear her weeping.  I was overwhelmed with pity---my comatose mother spent no time alone in her last days, yet here was this woman, wide awake, all alone, waiting to die.  I wanted to hold her hand.  I wanted to to comfort her, and tell her it would all be okay.  At that moment I felt deeply and profoundly more sorry for her than even for myself about to lose a mother.

I guess that was the real, true moment that pulled me out of my own head, and made me start to ask the question "how can I help?" over "what's in it for me?" 

And yet the seminary didn't happen.  A toddler at home, another baby on the way, a father dying of cancer, and a husband traveling for work was all hard enough.  Then dad died.  Being the executor of the estate and having to coordinate the extensive rehab and sale of my parents' home finished the job of crushing me.  At least for a while.  I felt I was alone in many ways.

Six years or so later, I realized I'd kind of got the hang of being a mom.  I'd thrown myself into the busyness of home life: the baking of the cookies, the laundry, the garden, the family functions, the activities.  Reading books to my babies got me through my grief more than anything.  I listed to Oprah, even though I thought it was stupid, and kept a gratitude journal.  Wrote down good things a day. I started volunteering for things at the kids' preschool, and later at their school.  I challenged myself to making sour relationships better.  I nurtured my friendships.  I made time for my husband.  I made crafts and photographed and blogged.  I made my house more beautiful.

Sometime around a year ago, I realized I was getting the hang of being happy.  My thoughts didn't automatically turn dark when things would go wrong.  I spent a little time with who Nathan used to call "My Big Friend Up There."  I basically opened myself up to my Creator and said okay, use me.  Show me the way, and I'll do my best to follow.

As I've mentioned before, this year took unexpected turns.  I became Nathan's den leader, with a lot of support from the Cubmaster and the parents.  I started walking then working out at the gym with my friend Erin.  I also began volunteering at school in a big way.  And now I've agreed to take over as Cubmaster in 2014.  Once upon a time, all of these things would have seemed impossible to me.  I would have felt alone and overwhelmed.  But I've learned a truth that reminds me of the writings of Joseph Campbell: that in the journey, when the "hero" accepts his/her path, helpers start appearing from all around.  This has totally been the case with me.  I'm making friends all over the place: in scouts, at the gym, at school.  Wherever I go anymore I meet some new, encouraging spirit.  And as the challenges arise, I face them with a resolution to rise to them. 

And as I gain confidence, it spreads to other factions of life.  I'm calmer with the kids.  I'm more easy going with Ken.  I have a better ability to prioritize around the house.  And I don't suffer from the anxiety that I used to.  I don't question my purpose anymore.  I know that, for me, asking how can I help? is the path to take.  It always leads me somewhere good.  Like last night, making catapults with seven crazy 7-year-old cubscouts.  When they ask me questions, or they misbehave, or they need help, or they're crying because the popsicle sticks won't hold together, I somehow find the words.  And I know it's not all "me."  It's not anything to do with me.  It's my willingness to follow, to be patient, and to listen.  That's it.

With all of these things, I'm getting the hang of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I'm utilizing Pinterest more than ever lately.
Today I'm prepping for a scout meeting.
The boys and I will make mini marshmallow- launching machines.
I'm loving this because it's very STEM,
And it can fulfill the build a model elective.
And you can do it with your own kids, using stuff you already ave.
Lately my creative flow is on override.
My confidence is high.
I'm starting to think BIG.
I've even shared my idea to build a larger-scale catapult.
It will take time and cooperation,
But it can be done.
I'm finally starting to understand the Rumplesiltskin story.
Sometimes you have to just blurt out
"I can make gold out of straw!"
Without having he foggiest idea of where to begin.
A month ago I didn't know how to make a catapult either.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The hospital

Saw my grandpa in the hospital today.
A two hour each-way journey.
Admittedly, I don't see him enough.
And vice-versa.
We have issues. The old, family kind.
Started long before I was ever around.
Still, it's jarring to see that once sturdy, massive man
In his present state, at 88 years.
All I can think to say is God bless him.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Four day weekend for the boys.
And 3 days for the husband.
The scout Blue and Gold banquet was fun. (Like my centerpieces?)
Sunday was all about being on the couch in jammies, pausing to cook up a huge breakfast of sausage, eggs, and hash browns.
Today has the potential for more of the same, though nicer weather will no doubt encourage the boys out of doors.
And I will drag my butt to the gym.
And no more hash browns!

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 15, 2013

I did make them Valentines

After my post yesterday I felt kind of bad.
For most of the boys lives I've made them one every year.
It's important, these little love notes.
Actually taking time to write my feelings.
Not something I do every day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What, no flowers?

We decided no gifties this year.
Well, I decided. $100 cut roses delivered is not worth it.
I made him a sweet smoothie and set it out with his vitamins.
That's love, no?
Anyway today my man will take me to lunch.
Probably Mexican.
And he will nag me to take time to go to my hairdresser.
She's expensive, so he knows I put it off as long as I can.
This year I didn't haul out the heart shaped crafts or decorations.
I didn't buy chocolates or conversation hearts.
I have absolutely nothing to "pin."
I got busy with hikes and scout stuff and book reading.
I did help the boys get their Ninjago valentines filled out,
And I washed the grapes for the healthy snack for 4th grade,
And I fed them whole grains and made sure they took baths and cut their nails.
In an hour I head to school. It's my twice weekly volunteer gig.
Walking and running club, at recess.
I do it to encourage my boys to run.
Tonight I will make a big beautiful steak we will all share
With a salad to keep us honest. Brownies for dessert.
This morning I pushed myself at my workout,
Thinking the whole time how I want to be around for them.
As I read this I chuckle at the thought
That I have no idea how we got here.
That is, how we got to vitamins, whole grains, workouts,
And good Lord in heaven,
Fresh fruit for a valentines snack?
Yup, that's how we roll these days.
And I love it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Remember Your Baptism



It's Ash Wednesday.  I've given up Facebook for another 40 days, and lo and behold I'm feeling thoughtful and creative and meditative.  Thinking about how Pastor always says "remember your baptism" when she puts the ashes on you.  I can't actually remember mine, of course.  But looking at these photos does more than bring back memories of the boys' baptisms.  As I look at the photos I think wow, look at all these people who came out for these events.  For the boys.  The thing of it that gets me is that even when we are babies, people just show up.  They love us.  We are the apple of their eyes.  How many sweet aunties and uncles and cousins and grandparents and neighbors held me and cuddled me when I was a baby? Let me sit on their laps? Sleep on their shoulders?  I'll never know.  All I know is that there were people there for me too, at the beginning of my life, many who are long gone now.  Even in these pictures there are faces we don't see nearly enough, and some who are gone and the boys will never know beyond these pictures, and our stories.  Remember your baptism, to me, really just means experience grace.  It's all around us.  We didn't earn it. We are blessed every day that we walk the Earth. Take a little time to look around and feel it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Mardi Gras Past

Time goes by pretty fast.
Here's a greeting from a few years ago.
From the Knave of Hearts and he King of Carnival.
Throw your arms around them---
Those pleasant, sunny afternoons are all too soon replaced.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Winter hike

Winter hike today, with kids from the pack.
It was pretty chilly, and the paths icy.
But man you could smell the spring in the air.
Saw a bunch of nuthatches at a feeder.
Feels like that first glorious sap-flow has begun.
Sure, it will probably snow more;
I've not yet seen the forsythia, so that's a given.
But spring is near for sure.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nice day to be inside


What's another couple of inches of snow?  I've got everything I need in here!  I said I was going to "take it easy" today, as I'm getting over a croupy cough thing, but I ended up completely cleaning out our art room, the boys' art supplies, my scrapbook and art supplies, and all my magazines.  It's almost time for the kiddos to get home, so I think their walk through the snow deserves fresh oatmeal cookies and cocoa when they get home.  I'm currently cuddled up with a cuppa and a couple of books by Tif of Dottie Angel.  As I look outside, I'm finally kind of starting to year for the little wren family that lived in my mushroom birdhouse last summer.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I grounded them from tv and video games for two days.
I won't go into why.
I find these groundings most successful when I take the time to do something creative with them.
Like building the long-forgotten catapult kit.