Monday, February 24, 2014


This past week has been a sad week. We've mourned with loved ones who have lost--some too soon, some at the end of a rich and beautiful life. When a deluge of heartbreak falls into our lives, I find myself scrambling to make sense of it.

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Matuskey, used to have a saying: "I don't deal with what-ifs". If we found cause for panic and began rambling, "What if this? What if that?!", she would simply shrug and reply, "I don't deal with what-ifs."

She was one of my favorite teachers. That could be a blog post in and of itself.

But I found myself thinking back to her classroom and her words. I see now, as an adult, what she was saying. There will always be unpredictables in life. Things that happen beyond our control. And if we immerse ourselves in the suffocating murkiness of worry and doubt, we will find ourself continually plagued by our inability to be in control. And we will want to shirk away and hide, failing to see the bigger picture and God's goodness in it.

But God has greater things for us. The hope of heaven. Believing that all things work together for a greater purpose. And these are the truths we cling to when we see those around us hurting. "What if that were to happen to me? What if?" And I am reminded of God's charge to us to not worry. To trust His Sovereign plan, even when we ache.

Because He aches, too.

And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
and there will no longer be any death;
there will no longer be any mourning,
or crying,
or pain;
the first things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

My mind is with those loved ones today.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Confrontation and Common Core.

If you know anything about me, you know that confrontation isn't exactly my strong suit.

A long time ago, as two of my friends were in a heated disagreement, I found myself in my friend's home office, hiding under the desk, on the phone with my husband, whispering vehemently that I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO THEY ARE FIGHTING AND I AM UNDER A DESK. Once the situation resolved itself, I emerged from the hallway, stating that I had taken a bit of a long time in the bathroom.

Brave, yes?

I am happy to report that my insecurity has lessened quite a bit since having children. Parenthood is full of disagreeing ideals and I have learned that you can sit on one side of the fence while still waving at the other--no need to be hateful. We won't always agree on things. We just won't. But, when it comes to my children, I will stand firm when something comes into play that I believe compromises their well-being. And, I find that the older I get, the more convicted I am to put feet to my thoughts and action to my words.

I precede this post with that tidbit of introspection because I want you to know where I am coming from.

This past Monday, I, along with other mothers, fathers, teachers, and administrators, rode a bus to our state capitol to join over a thousand concerned constituents who were protesting the implementation of Common Core Standards in our state's schools, both public and private. If you have not looked at that website, please do. We sat in on Education Committee meetings, lined the hallways of our Senators' offices, and spoke to representatives. We encouraged them to hear the bills that pertain to Common Core, including parents' right to opt their student(s) out of state testing.

I don't want to go into great detail about it because this blog is not about politics, but I do want to say this: If you have a child who is in school, who is going to be in school, or if you live in a state where they have schools, or if you know someone who has a kid who is in a school, or if you know someone who wants to maybe someday have a kid who is in school, or if you are currently breathing and have a pulse, please READ UP ON COMMON CORE. Know how it is being implemented in your schools.

I do not like Common Core because of the one-size-fits-all curriculum that is ONLY geared towards success on the tests. It's all about standardized tests. Speaking of curriculum, who's writing it? And how much money is being made from producing it? The kids are being taught how to pass standardized tests with methods and a curriculum that are lukewarm at best. The expectations for the kids are not age-appropriate (can your kindergartner read? and write?) or developmentally appropriate. And, politically speaking, this isn't a one-party ordeal--members of both parties are frustrated by Common Core--just ask New York.

Oh, and just because your state may say it is not implementing "Common Core", check the details behind their state standards. Chances are, it's Common Core, with a different name.

I am not an educator. I'm just a Mom. A Mom with kids who are in a private school that does not use Common Core. Yet. But to think that those facts exempt me from involvement is naive and ludicrous. I witnessed the process at the capitol--private and home education are at risk, too. Having the attitude "it will never happen to us" is exactly why it will.

How can you be involved? Call your reps. Read up on Common Core. Talk to your kids' teachers and administrators. Know the material being taught.

Okay. Now I am stepping off my soap box, straightening my cereal-bar encrusted sweatpants, and going about my business as a stay-at-home Mom of three.

After calling my representative. :)

Have a lovely day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Just Really Like Him.

My hubby came home last night after being out of town for four days. I was hoping to be awake and cheerful when he arrived, but, instead, I was snoring in bed by 9:00, drool on my pillow, lights dark in the house. Sexy!

I am a stay-at-home Mom. It's what I do. I do breakfast, I do games, I do lunch, I do dishes, I do laundry, I do reading, I do crafts, I do all the things. Every day, they are what I do. And I love what I do--that's why I choose to stay home with our 5, 3, and 2 year old chickies. So, it would seem a little funny to think that my hubby's absence would leave me snoring and drooling at such an early hour, since, after all, this staying-at-home-all-day-with-the-kids-alone thing is, well, what I do!

And yet, in the absence of my husband, I felt completely and utterly exhausted. Once the bathtime and bedtime shenanigans were over, I would stare at my kitchen full of dishes and living room full of folded laundry and I'd hang my head and let out a really unattractive groan. I was just. so. tired. And I would finally pep talk myself through the day's remaining chores, before sluggishly making my way to the bedroom, where I would turn on my nightly show and promptly fall asleep. Before 9:00. And be just as tired the next day.

My husband and I are really great about giving each other the freedom to have time away. We don't spend crazy amounts of time apart, but we both understand the necessity of recharging, the necessity of finding the space to breathe for a few days, away from the daily routine. And if anything, these times apart are a great reminder of how much we appreciate each other. With my whirlwind days that left me spinning, I realized how hands-on my hubby is with our kids. I mean, I already know it, but these weekends always jog my memory, ha. From the moment he gets home from work, he's on. He's playing with the kids, helping with chores. He's just really great.

And, I know. I know there are wives who clearly have it much worse--that goes without saying. And that is exactly what I continued to tell my exhausted, somewhat-pathetic self as the kids and I stared outside at the cold, going through our days together. I tried to grin and bear it, ignore the loneliness and smile my way through doing the dishes and cleaning the carpet thanks to a puppy who isn't a fan of icy grass.

Finally, a lightbulb went off in my overachieving brain:

It's okay to miss him.

It's okay to want him here. It's okay if I don't like doing this alone. It doesn't make me lame, it makes me a wife who likes having her husband around. He changed jobs over a year ago and the time we've had together as a family since then has been amazing. And I've gotten used to his accessibility and his presence. And I think that's a really good thing. It was liberating to recognize that I need him. Sure, if you were to ask me, "Do you need your husband?" before this past weekend, my answer would have been, "Of course!" But a little time apart helps to give more emphasis to that simple answer. Of course, yes, I do need him. And he needs me. It's great. We've had weekends apart before, don't get me wrong. And the kids and I have fun. But, this is the first time I've allowed myself to acknowledge that I'm not really a fan of doing life without him, even if it's for a few days. Time away is great for both of us, for that very reason: We miss each other.

And now, he's home. Before he left for work, I said, "I'm so glad you were able to go... and I'm so glad you're back!"

And I meant it.

Have a lovely day.