getting back together

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It has been a mere week and a half since I finished school and I have noticed many things.  Mostly what I have noticed is that our family hasn’t been together much.

My kids are fighting more.

My kids have lost all manners I taught them.

My kids have been ignoring our house rules.  No eating in bedrooms ect.

My patience is not what it should be.

My mom brain is fully engaged now.

It’s amazing what you don’t notice when you’re just plain tired.  I was also gone.  Often. Like frequently.  Most of the time.

The mom is said to be the heart of the home.  I admit that I have had such a large workload that my heart hasn’t been fully with my family even when I have been near them.

No more.

I am back to monitoring and coaching interpersonal relationships. I’m pondering with a watchful eye, listening with perked ears, and making lots of eye contact.  You know, the sort where you hope they see your face and change their words before you actually say something.  That sort.

I wanted to share a great on-the-go resource for opening up your heart and mind to just being better at momming.  I say this with a whisper because I don’t want to trap you in the mindset of doing everything you hear.  I’ve been there before and ideas after ideas are an exhausting wheel to spin on.

Think of this resource as more of a heart centering.

Get back on the wagon.

Check out God Centered Mom Podcast.

I have been enjoying these mom interviews to and from work, to and from moving our stuff from one house to another, and while shopping (yes I’m that person).

That’s the honest mom truth.  I’m working on centering my heart back to where it longs to be.  We are all learning what it’s like to be together more, to have more structure.

We’re not just surviving together, we’re getting back together.

 

the big change

IMG_3396We have been at the farm for five years now.  We have loved and learned so many wonderful lessons, but it’s time for a big change.  We’re moving.

We’re moving to a place that is completely opposite of the farm.  The city.  We’re moving to a neighborhood with a park and kids everywhere. We’re moving to a place that has a yard the size of our living room and kitchen.

We’re moving to a place where we can be together more.

This new home is three minutes from Nick’s work.  Three.  Not, Fifty.   It’s seven minutes from Target (watch out husband here I go).  We are all both excited and sad.  We have loved our farm.

We all have gown close to together while gardening and completing projects.  We’ve seen goat babies born, collected chicken eggs, chased those gosh darn pigs, bird watched, adventured, lived a full five years.

We are excited to experience what we never have before.  We have never been city folks as a family.  We have never cheered bother in baseball, gone to gymnastics, ballet recitals, played with neighborhood kids after school.  We haven’t experienced the average American life.  It’s both odd and fun to imagine ourselves as average.

The last time we lived in a neighborhood we homeschooled.  The kids we so little. Even then we we’re weird.  We hung-dry clothes, had a big garden, used cloth diapers, canned food, made laundry soap, ate organic.  We were still weird.

Now, we won’t have the space to do all that, and all the kids are now in public school.  I have no desire or time for making everything from scratch anymore.  It’s just going to be different from how we have lived.  It’s going to be less work.

I look forward to the kids having friends over and meeting our neighbors.  I look forward to the kids going to youth group at a bigger church.  I look forward to us serving the people in our community more.  I look forward to convenience.  I can’t wait to be a part of a women’s ministry again.  Book clubs, coffee dates, , and walking to the park- it’s all coming.  I look forward to simple living.  I look forward to not feeling secluded.

We will never forget what we have had here on the farm.  The experiences we’re had and life we’ve lived have shaped us all.  It’s just time to move along a different path that has been laid before us.  It’s time to stop traveling  to and from the city (goodbye ridiculous fuel bill).  It’s time to just be in the city.

It time for a big change.

 

a sacrificial year

No one said it would be easy.  They did say I could do it.  What no one told me is just how much I would be giving up in order to complete college.  I’m not sure most of them knew.  I didn’t really know until I was knee-deep in turnouts and books. If you are a working parent thinking of college and just want an honest take on the true sacrifice it will take, read on.  I’m about to share with you what it took for myself and my whole family to make it through this year.

This will be a list of thank you and some real truth.   I preface this by adding that while I was pregnant with baby #4 I finished a full year of college.  Fast forward seven years and here we are.  The beginning of my back-to-college year.

I started off by taking a computer class and an EMT class.  I was managing two restaurants at the time.  This required help from grandparents and aunt/uncle.  They watched our kids after school for three nights a week.  Our children stayed up later than normal because of it, but this season was only a few months.

Nick and I were exhausted from the constant car switching and later nights.  Other people were responsible for helping our kids with homework and bathing.  I knew we couldn’t sustain for long like this.  Honestly, I felt so guilty.  I didn’t want to have to ask people to do these things for us.  They were gracious and willing, but I wanted to see me kids.  I’m grateful we had this help and we couldn’t have gotten through this time without it.

I changed jobs.  I had to it was getting rough.  I worked fewer hours.  I was blessed enough to work for three days instead of six and make just as much money- easier.  I really loved the brewery I worked at.  No stress of managing and more time for study.  This was the easiest semester I had.

Once I received my certifications for EMT, I naturally wanted a job in that field.  I got a job at our small community hospital ER- thanks to a friend putting in a good word for me there.  As a new EMT I felt that I would lose my skills and knowledge if I didn’t put it to use.  This meant learning and training.  Twelve hour shifts are brutal sometimes.

Just as a new semester started, I found myself working much more than the part-time I was hired for.  I worked nights, swing, and day shifts often all in one week.  Things were getting harder.  I found myself changing into scrubs in gas station bathrooms after class so I could head straight to work.  My father-in-law became very ill.  He was our main sitter.

By the end of this semester, he passed away.

This was so very hard on all of us.  All of us.  The whole family grieved at the passing of this incredible guy.  We all spent every moment we could with him.  Me, least of all.  I learned that college doesn’t care what’s going on in your life.  Due dates are due dates.  Work doesn’t pay without you showing up.

I had some very special days with him.  I am thankful for that.

A new semester dawned and I hadn’t even had a melt down.  I suppose I saved it all up for the end.  I battled my mind so much during this semester.  I was completely sick of studying by now.  Every spare moment felt taken.  There were no spare moments.

When I was home, I was locked up in me room studying.  Forever studying.  I am proud to have accomplished so much in such a short time.  That’s what it takes. Become a hermit with a book and you can do it too.

When friends want to have you over for dinner…you can’t.  When the kids want you to play outside with them the day before a test- you can’t. The husband wants to date you, the house needs a mom scrub, the laundry is a huge mountain of neglect, the dogs need to be taken to the groomers, the kids are overdue on yearly checks, every birthday you’re invited to is on a Saturday.

Everyday Saturday for a year I have been at fire school.  Eight hours every Saturday of drills, tests, didactic, skills, sun, wind, overexertion, skills.

We missed so much.  The kids missed so much.  We have had no weekend getaways or camping trips.  Since my school schedule was so crazy, work filled my Sundays and Fridays and every moment I let them.

This.Has.Been.Hard.

Nothing worth having is easy.  Is it?

I’m so proud of my family for supporting me.  For giving up fun and friends and time away.  I feel like we all graduated.  We all got done with school.  We all made it through this season.

There were times I wanted to just quit.  I wanted to curl up in bed and knit or read a book just for fun.  I couldn’t.  The prize was too great. I didn’t knit a stitch or read a line.  I buckled down and got my work done.  My strength came from Jesus.

Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

This has been my life verse.

I know that Jesus has strengthens us all.  My children have seen first-hand how much studying and sacrifice it takes to reach a big goal.  My hope is that all this yucky mom-guilt was a lesson to them.

This has been quite a year.

This has been a sacrificial year.

 

 

 

mama’s back!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who remain here.

My little corner of the web has survived my year long absence, and two years of being unkempt.

I’m back.

I cannot wait wait to fill you all in on my little life lessons and bits you have missed.  If you follow me on instagram you have a pretty good idea of what’s been happening in our lives.  If you don’t- what are you waiting for?  I’m the most interesting human on earth…or not.

Let’s get down to what event has brought me back to this place.

My happy place.

I’m graduating from college!  That’s right.  My shambled life is starting to get back to a pace this cocaine-free girl can handle without having a conniption.

I’m so excited.

I’m relieved.

We’re all relieved to be honest.

It’s been one of the most demanding and trial-filled years of my life.

But….

I did it.

Well, He did it.  God have been the peace that has calmed my heart every test, every milestone.  He has been the one that allowed others to see the good in me.  He made my hard work noticed.  He guided me through.

He watched over my babies when I wasn’t there.  He was with my husband many nights while I worked night shifts, swing shifts, and was at class late into the night.

He gave me this drive inside.  The stubbornness to keep going when I wanted to quit.  He brought to memory things I had forgotten in the nick-of-time.

Persevere.

That’s my life motto.  Long before there was Dori swimming, I have had this word etched into my heart.

Persevere.

And I did, persevere.

I’m sitting here just two days away from my goal.  Just two more finals and I’m there. I can’t believe I’m here, this close to the end.  My heart is rejoicing and my spirit is longing to be done with this season.

I thank you again for all who have visited this space over and over and saw nothing new, but you stayed.  You didn’t give up on me.

Friends, I have so much to fill you in on.  I can’t wait!  What have you been doing?  What blogs should I be reading?  I haven’t read a blog in years.  What shall we do together?  Read? Knit? Mama chat?

I feel like a little kid before Christmas.  Eager and full of anticipation.  I ‘m ready to open the gift of sharing in the place.  It’s time to encourage and love and get real.

Mama’s back!

 

tiny garden

We are easing back into developing our garden and farm again.  The exhaustion and business of life led us away.  I have allowed myself to maintain a small garden.  I say allowed because I want more.  It isn’t what I imagine as being great, but sometimes you have to get real with yourself about what you can pull off.

This is our small garden.

Planted late.

Planted hurriedly.

Planted.

Last year we had no garden and I see this as a huge improvement.  Strawberries, onions, cucumber, zucchini, sunflowers, pinto beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers, potatoes are all coming up and doing well.

I can’t ask for more than that.  Every year no matter how much I know it will happen, I always feel surprised and in awe by what can come from such a tiny seed.

A tiny garden baring the fruits it ought to is a wonderful thing.

Have you planted a garden friend?  What is your favorite part of watching your garden grow?

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the unpredictable life

Since my return to the workforce in January 2015, I have been absolutely not keeping up on this blog.  I have only really written about hoe busy, hard, tiring life has become.  While I never intend to be phony, or over enthusiastic about the truths of these feelings, I certainly don’t want this to be a place for whining.  I will be honest here for a moment.  This blog will not be what it once was.

I will post things about our (very small) garden, our family, our fun.  It simply won’t be the same.

I’m a working mom.  I’m a college student. Our kids are now in public school.  I’m on my way to be a firefighter/EMT.  Nick is no longer a pastor.

Our life is wholly and completely changed from what it once was two years ago.  I cannot see it being the same again.

Life is unpredictable.

I have often thought of posting here over the months.  The truth is I wasn’t sure how it would be received by you.  What I write about won’t be the same or what I think you expect.  So, if it’s okay with you, I’m going to write about what our life is now.  I may not write any knitting patterns soon, but I may pull off a project or two a year (not a month). The name of this blog might not make sense all the time, but we’re too far along to go back now.  It’s been 7 years!!  Thank you for staying with me.  We will still farm, and fun, and mom here.  I think you will like some of the new topics as well.

If you want to see what we’ve been doing this summer catch up on our YouTube vlogs.

I am simply going to write about us.  Our life right now.  Let’s begin (again).

when life laughs at you…persevere

I think it’s important not to take yourself too seriously.  In light of my last post, a follow-up is necessary.  For the past few months I have been the front-of-house manager for one of most popular restaurants in our area.  I mentioned in the last post how much I love the problem solving, right?  Yes.  Did I also say how much chaos is my thing?  Yeah.  I did.  Oh. My.  I love when I eat my own words.  It’s tastes great!

Here’s the deal.  I like to take crazy and make it make sense.  I’ve been pretty good at my job thus far.  Busy days are my favorite.  I like the feeling of stepping in when everything hits the fan, fixing it, and no guest in our restaurant even notices.  I usually laugh hysterically when several people come to me at once with what they feel are end-of-world problems.  I don’t laugh at them.  I laugh at how nuts things can get.  I usually take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves, and start putting out fires.  One by one in order of priority, I fix things.  Yesterday, things got a bit too much.  Even this chaos-seeker couldn’t get the fires under control.

It all started at noon.  I got a call from the busser.  Car problems.  He’ll be an hour or so late tonight.  No problem here.  Due to budget cuts, I was scheduled as the hostess.  No big deal.  I can buss and host.  Solved.  When I got to work, more little fires. BAM!  Taken care of in the first hour.  I was thinking it was a crazy start to a Monday, but things were quiet.  Business was slow.  A sick server’s shift got covered, another needed the next day off.  No problem.  Move this one here, and that one there.  Done.  Sometimes things get hairy.  That’s the way it is in the restaurant biz.  Just Saturday I was talking with a cooks’ father who was in town from Florida.  He’s had a successful restaurant in Syracuse for thirty years.  We chatted about how it is hard at times.  It’s just the way it is.

Everything at work stayed quiet the rest of the day.  Too quiet, in fact.  By four PM I was so bored I actually said out loud that I wished to bar would explode so I’d have something to do.  To give you some background on that statement, let me tell you that my first day managing we had a loud gun-shot sound in the middle of the dinner rush.  Turns out the bartender caught the edge of the bar glass with a wine bottle.  A six foot section of the bar burst into a ba-gillion tiny pieces.  Right under a hotel insurance adjusters’ dinner.  Yeah.  It’s gets crazy.  It always happens right when the restaurant is full too.

So, I’m so bored yesterday that I asked for an explosive mess.

I got it.

The busser let me know that he’ll be even later.  The restaurant was starting to fill and my servers were getting a bit frazzled.  I let him know to just get in when he can.  They would love his help cleaning up later.  I proceeded to the bar to make some drinks, wondering where the bar tender was.  At this point I was wondering if he was coming at all.  As I made a few drinks, the look on the servers faces was getting panicked.  The restaurant was filling very quickly.  I was tending to the bar folk to relieve their stress.  I was getting that feeling that things were slipping from me.  I couldn’t leave where I was…too much to do.

Muddling drinks in the midst of a “situation” feels like waiting for water to boil.  The time seems to never end.  I knew I needed to walk the floor and check on my servers, but the drink orders kept coming!  I got up and couldn’t get out from behind the bar.  I spied the pizza server and knew she could make drinks.  I called her over and let her loose.  I served pizzas for her and ran through the kitchen to check the schedule.

Just as I suspected.  Bar tender was an hour late, and now fired!  Okay, no bar tender tonight.  Things are getting nuts!

Throw in the fact that the service is getting slower, we’re on a wait list, and another local restaurant owner was very unhappy with his experience…that all adds up to this manager feeling like a failure.

Who’s that I spy?  An off-duty bartender walking in the lobby?  Get in! Punch in, and send the pizza girl back to her side.

Here come more and more people.  Food is in the window and needs running.  Here I go.  The bartender is doing his best.  I check on cups and run more to him.  Who’s that I see?  That’s right.  The thirty year restaurateur.  He asks how I am.  Uhhhhh.  Things are a little messy tonight.

“I know.  I could tell when I walked in.”

Defeat is an ugly mental state.  It was on every face of my people that night.  Times like that you just have to push through.  I was holding on to the idea that the busser would show up at any minute to smooth things out a bit.

Then I saw a text.

He’s not coming.  Just couldn’t get here in time with all the set-backs.

More defeat on the faces of my servers.  That meant that after all the rude people, failed team member, stress of knowing you didn’t give your guest what you wanted to give, you’ll now be taking on all the closing cleaning of the busser.

I  stayed to close because I knew my servers need a lift after all that beat-down the night gave them.  I figured that if we pumped up some old-school hip-hop after closing we could get the pep in our step back.

The service settled.  The guests went as fast as they came.  When the last one left, I went straight to the music.

It wouldn’t work.

And that was the night.

At every expectation of relief or hope of it getting easier, it failed.

Isn’t life like that?  There are certain seasons, days, years, that feel so defeating.  I was downcast in my heart while still trying to  encouraging to my staff.  I determined to just push through the crappy night.  There’s a word that I learned early in my Christian walk.

Persevere.

That word has a way of lifting me and propelling me.  Sometimes by one more day.  Sometimes by one more hour.  Just a bit longer.  I have a verse on my wall that I look at and consider almost daily.

In short…persevere.