Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beanbag Daddy- Holla!

Mr. Steinbacher...#1 Teacher!

how am i ever going to summarize first grade?
this picture may just be the 1000 words that i need.

this year started out so rough.
she needed her hand held,
tears wiped,
ralphie in her backpack,
notes in her lunchbox,
beanbag daddy on her desk,

that goopy, slimey glow-in-the-dark putty,
stress ball,
balloons filled with flour-that would eventually explode
all over the classroom floor.
but, not once, did her teacher say no
to these little comforts that made
olivia feel more brave.

she cried everyday until Christmas break.
i was on the verge of homeschooling...which, if you know me-
that's a really big verge.
after christmas break, i came up with some new stratagies, 
they went something like this:

who do you think is going to pick their nose today?
do you think mr. steinbacher is going
 to rock out some new songs this morning?
i sure hope ralphie stays out of all the kids
 lunches while you guys are in gym class.

anything...i tried anything and everything
to get her attention on something other than me leaving her at school.

i thought i was brilliant, coming up with this little plan.
i lasted 4 days.  4 days and i ran out of distractions.
that shouldn't happen to a mama 
who has been diagnosed with adult A.D.D.  

i researched children with anxiety like it was my full time job.
and, you know you are in deep when you are flipping 
into the 2nd, 3rd, 9th google page.
that is phd material for sure.
 and, after earning my phd, i became an informant on the topic.
because, i know those mamas - 
and those thoughts they wished they didn't have.

please. please just stop talking. 
stop worrying. 
stop ALL of your OCD patterns
that are completely FREAKing me out!  
stop. be normal and get your little tush
into your classroom in time
 to say the pledge of allegiance....please. :)

long pause. deep breath. what is "normal" anyway?
being "normal" is way overrated.  

and, because we made it through this tumultuous year
of anxiety-and came through it more beautiful than when we started,
with a better understanding of others who share space with us
in these parts that are pretty messy most days... 
i want to savor every part of these last couple days of conversation
with olivia about school ending.

it started a couple nights ago.
she asked me if mr. steinbacher would remember her.
then the tears came.  
i couldn't really let her cry alone...i mean, what kind of mom
do you think i am?  
hand us the kleenex -STAT- that's right will rhymes..
give us the kleenex and you can have 20 more minutes of daniel tiger.

then, yesterday morning happened.  
she walked into school all by herself.
went straight to her classroom - without me.

it was the first time all year.

it felt amazing and the tears flowed freely.
because God has been faithful to her this year.
not once, did she ever walk alone.
and, she knew that- it took her a year to trust 
and experience 
His faithfulness.

He gave us the perfect teacher who taught
her everything teachers are supposed to cover.
then, he went above those things
and taught her skills that will last her a lifetime.

lesson 1:  laugh at yourself sometimes
lesson 2:  mistakes are okay
lesson 3:   a hurdle is just a hurdle..that's all it is.
you either trip over it, jump over it, or leap...
no matter how messy the hurdle is-
giving up isn't an option.  

after she had her goodbye with him...we both had visible signs that 
we were going to lose it.  we both twitch our noses and sigh.
on our way out of the building, i stopped to talk with a friend.
olivia kept rubbing my arm, tapping my arm, tugging on my arm...

how could i have forgotten that just a moment ago-
we did the nose twitch/sigh-holding back tears together?  
my little girl needed to get to the car because 
her capacity of holding back was maxxing out. 
 her little lifeboat wasn't going to make it to the car
 if her mommy talked for one minute longer.
  she didn't even want to pass mr. steinbacher on the sidewalk.  
she made us walk through the mulch-
which, i'm pretty sure violates some sort of school rule, 
but, at that point, i was willing to come back on a saturday to make it right-
just to be able to get her to a bigger life boat.  

so, there you have it.  
the nash girls.  
 hearts on drippy sleeves.

we just sat in my truck
  in mini-therapy-session mode.
this included bursts of laughter, the ugly cry, a snort? sighing a lot,
catching a breath, more laughter, and, a package of puffs.
it was as if we were breathing again...
she was at the finish line-
and i was so proud and grateful that she finished well.

it was the very best way to end the year.

sometimes it is the unspoken language of our children 
that is the most important for us to tune in to.

here is a post written by my friend, Maggie- that is a must-read! ;)


Thursday, May 9, 2013

media smedia

my take-away from the Book 7 by Jen Hatmaker
 Chapter 4:  Media

i have pretty much gotten a C- on my media fast.
i have...cheated-again!!  although, i have significantly reduced the usage of my digital "accomplices" - and, i am getting the hang of, no, i am enjoying not feeling so attached to them.
my favorite part of these 2 weeks is when olivia reminds me
that i forgot my phone and i say,
"i won't be needing it-my attention is on you and will...anyone else will have to wait."

that feels great-and the giggles that ensue and the sheer smiles are worth putting everyone else on hold.  because i have these 2 little lives that shouldn't have to be put on hold because i am checking a device...just like i am not wanting them to put me on hold when they are teenagers/semi-adults/adults.  what i model for them today is what they will do in excess as they grow up.  that is a scary and yet so very real.

and, it's moments like yesterday that will keep me disconnecting from my devices...because yesterday was cherishable and it did not involve one digital device.

before dinner...we loaded up the kids to go on a bike ride to the park.
i really, really wanted to grab my phone so i could
instagram every fun moment and document it later.
but, i resisted and went hands-free.
when we got to the trail...we saw that it was completely under water.
i reached for my phone to snap a shot-
this would make a great portion to my little documentary.

hmm. no phone.
**sigh* resisting kicking myself
 and, reminding myself instead of this:  

it isn't about sharing our time with everyone else...
it is about sharing our time with each other.

ben ended up taking us another that felt super dangerous
and i was completely uncomfortable with.

when i finally relaxed and trusted my husband and just let him lead-i, along with my children, thoroughly enjoyed the ride, the journey and the destination.
thank you patient your mom would were always so good at loooooongsuffering.

once we were home,
we fired up the grill...our crew was tired and hungry!
i stood at the window and took in these 2 precious scenes:

scene 1: instructions
watching my husband take will by the hand
and instruct him about the dangers of the pool...
while "mother hubbard" aka~olivia
followed behind and repeated every rule.
she loves rules...i don't know where she gets
that from - hmm. :)
oh fine-guilty.  i LOVE rules too!!
once the pool safety lesson was over-we let him adventure on his own to see what he would do.
**by the way-we are not that adventuresome...or neglegent..
the pool cover was still on the pool**

he would take a few steps... look at ben to see if he was watching.
ben would give him THE look and he would run away-
pleased with himself for following the rules.
i loved wathing him revel in collecting praises from his daddy.

it's so interesting that the questions of
 "am i enough?" + "do i have what it takes?"
start as early as 2.

scene 2:  riding lessons

olivia loves to introduce will to new things
and what i enjoy about watching her teach him...
is that she loves to not just instruct him-
she wants him to have the entire experience-
so he thoroughly enjoys his free play.
yesterday she grabbed 2 of those ponies on sticks,
and taught him how to "ride" and "gallop".
she even made sure he knew how to "yeehaw".

it's an indiana thing-i'm sure. ;)

all this from the window.  oh, had i left for a moment to grab my phone-i would have missed the preciousness of each personality carrying on with their beautiful imaginations.
and, i would have missed my husband being a really good dad.
i am learning so much from just keeping my phone out of my pocket - or away from my arms reach.

i may be doing all of this the wrong way-and, i keep messing up and feeling the need to check in on everyone's life.  but, somehow, God is breaking through and whispering sweet reminders of whose lives are the most important for me to keep tabs on.  and, i'm pretty sure they don't have facebook accounts. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

will the real slim shady...please stand up..

This fast is looking so different than I had planned! 
The first 3 days...I forgot I was even on a fast, 
until, someone had to go and ask me how it was going. 
oops. :/

Chapter 3:  Possessions
 Jen Hatmaker's Book: 7

I decided to give 7 things from every space in my house.
bathrooms, linen closet, pantry, kitchen etc...everywhere. 
And, as I was going through 1 or 2 rooms a day...
prayed in that room, for God to show me excess...
and to show me what I am treasuring in place of Him. 

These beauties were not on my list to give away...
but, I wish they would have been.

my sista...heidi hall laplante...aka spin chic..
throwing a beach bash for our kids during our "staycation" 
me: wearing my blues

 a selfie...with my favorite shady-shades.

and, look at them now...a broken mess. 
if i had given them least someone 
would have been able to enjoy them!

My definition of a prized possession that means too much to me:
If I own it and it gets damaged or broken and the following 
thoughts come to mind:

1. I'm going to cry or lose it-whichever comes first-order is not a factor
2.  I want to skip all of my responsibilities and head
straight to the establishment that sells this possession to purchase another.

These weeks have been good...and hard. 
Did I say that?  Okay...I'm saying that.  good + hard.

Perspective has been a huge part of these 2 weeks.

I think it's time for me to go back to my list of essentials.

There was a time where that is all we had.
Just a year ago, in fact-
We were in a place where a pair of sunglasses 
was a luxury...not something we would just
  throw in our cart and purchase.
I'm being challenged to take a step away from the comfort of having stuff.
and move towards simplifying life with the essentials.

So, I had this thought as I was in my pantry-

to take snacks and give them away
to people who needed lunch.
Our pantry is an area that we have excess.  
I want it out of my pantry and into people's
hands and bodies that need it.
We did get a few strange looks
when we would hand someone an uncrustable, 
along with a juice box and some snacks...
but, no one ever turned us away.

This simple act has impacted me.  
It has humbled me.  
It has left me flat on my face in tears. 
Why such emotion? 

Because, I have seen it leave 
a lasting impression on my 7 year old.
She prays for these "new friends"
 that we have met and shared lunch with.  
her heart, along with mine
breaks for them.
but, mostly, it's because we have been in the place of need.
We have seen others who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to us.
We have experienced how powerful His love is for us...that He
laid us on the hearts of other's to actually come along side us
and remind us of that we were not forgotten.

I am only halfway through my house and one closet in my basement 
is full of stuff to give-away.  That may not sound like much...but, after
moving 3 times, in 3 years-I really didn't think I had that much left to 

It may take a couple months to get everything
 to it's rightful place-or, maybe it will get completed
 in a couple weeks. Praying God's timing and leading-
and for my grasp to be looser and looser on these things
 and tighter and tighter onto Him. 

Less of me and my stuff-
and more of you Jesus.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

small confession...actually, it's kind of a big deal

yesterday was hard.

the thought of crying came to me-i really want to go on vacation.
it sounded silly + there was no time to cry.
i had to finish chapter 2 in my book, 7.

i am so glad that i did. 

chapter 2:  clothes
choosing 7 items to wear for 2 weeks.

and, here is my outfit-that i have been wearing
every single day...
black cardi, green tee + jeans
my second outfit: yoga pants and long sleeve tee
have turned into my pjs.

will rhymes + i after sunday school

black cardi, green tee + jeans

my mom, liv + i enjoying a fun game of fibber!!
[these two...i can't trust them]

black cardi, green tee + jeans

2 of my sistas-at a hockey game with our families.
i really wanted to wear something fun this night...but, 

black cardi, green tee + jeans

oh know what they say...
second verse, same as the first.
a little bit louder and a little bit worse!

this clothes fast was much harder than the food fast was for me.

this is a post that i had written to the girls in my book club on day 5 of this fast:

 I wish I could say that this fast has been easy. 
I have struggled every day.
and everyday I wake up and feel edgy...
because I want variety. 
I want to wear a hat or a headband...
a clip would even be acceptable.
  I was processing with Ben and was explaining my edginess.
 It came down to 2 things: I am entitled and I am discontent.
 Ugh. How humbling.
 I thought I would love not having options,
that it would take a lot of the guess work out for me 
of what I was going to wear.
 I miss fun scarves, accessorizing, 
switching out shoes with boots and boots with shoes...
ball caps, sunglasses, rings, layering clothes, fun coats.
 These are ALL such luxuries. None of them fit into an essentials list.
 After pouting and having mini melt downs last week...
i'm ready to see what this week holds.

i'm not sure if it has been harder, 
because we are going on week 4 of giving up excess...
or, if it's because i care that much about how i look..
or both. :/

back to my mini melt-down tantrum about not "having"
options for variety...whether in clothing, accessorizing,

as i picked up my book to finish ch. 2,
 this sentence was waiting for me:

and i my melt-down tracks.

"I spend more just on clothes in one year than the average
 Ethiopian family earns in almost five."

i want to etch this sentence in my heart forever.
who am i to be so entitled?

on clothes alone...i spend more than they make in 5 years.
what am i doing with my money?
with my time?

here is a small, small confession:
i was searching on a garage sale site a couple days ago...
olivia needs new shoes for spring and summer.
She has a pair of flip flops right now. 

meanwhile, i sure did find this pair of awesomeness!

and, i purchased them...knowing that i am ridding myself of excess...
i purchased them.  
guilty as charged.  
i didn't even hesitate.  

i justified it by telling myself,
self...they are $5.  you love a good wedge.
throw in the fact that they "happen" to be just your size.
it's a deal. forget ch. 2...
your council of women would approve-
they wouldn't want you to pass up such an amazing deal.
do it. these lovelies will dress up a really dull outfit. 
type interested.
so, i did.  
i listened to my bad self-the next thing i knew-
i was setting up a time to meet with the seller 
and bring these babies home!

mama needs new shooooes!

the day after this little hiccup happened,
my dear friend, of the sexy 7-10 girls,
posted this pic.

yep...she wasn't purchasing new shoes.
she was giving away half her closet.

oh, sweet Jesus...i am undeserving of 
your grace that covers me.  
i am consciously receiving it-and grateful
that your mercies are new every morning.

here is my hope.
that something inside me is done resisting my Jesus.

there is nothing wrong with buying a new pair of whatevers...
there is something in my heart though, 
that is not satisfied, not content with what i already own.  

because i can't wear variety in these 2 weeks...
i seek to be distracted by it.
by what i can't have.

am i drawn more to beauty and style
 above substance, contentment & integrity?
my hope is that i will be able to say no.
not sure i am there yet. :/

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

be aware of your polarity

day five of reading the book 7

ben and olivia came home from my favorite
restaurant sunday night and brought me this fortune.

i'm pretty sure they decided this fortune was for me as
 they licked their plates clean of sushi + crab wontons.

how thoughtful.
how very and completely thoughtful you two!
i had to laugh because
that last "be aware" portion fits perfectly for how i've been handling this week.
 last night, in particular was insanity!
my sweet girl was up all night itching and scratching.
i was up all night trying to get her focus off of the itch and scratch.
it was disastrously impossible.

so, after 1 hour of beauty sleep,
i woke up to the realization of a long day
with one itching and scratching and one wound up toddler...

and my fuel for the day was black coffee and a plain egg-

i almost cried.

why does cereal and my comfort {cream + coffee}
make me feel like i can tackle mount windwood?
so, in my rebellious state, 
i did it.  i cheated.
i poured cream into the blackness of my mug.
and somehow, i felt good.
like, i had earned it.
i mean, i had been up all night with my child.

go ahead...judge me.
that is pathetic.

because when your child needs you,
that's what parents do.
they pull all-nighters.
this is what i signed up for.

and, my super-hot-supamodel friend, heather...
do you know that she stayed up for a gajillion nights
with her sweet bailey?  and, not just nights...all day too.
 cuddling her, snuggling...trying to adjust
her so that she could breath better.  making sure that her meds were
not a minute off. she and matt both.  
they did not miss one appointment...
not one of her smiles or sounds.  they were present for her.  
they gave her everything they had.


 i know i am comparing extreme situations.  
but, my point is this...
i learned how to be a better parent 
because of bailey.  
i saw her parents be parents. 
they were present.

they still are. 
 i am growing up in this parenting world...
wanting to be just like them.

their fuel - our Faithful God-
who they still call Faithful.

my fuel today...cream + coffee?

enough. already. enough.

adding cream to my day,
doesn't make it any easier to be present with my
children.  it only allows me 
to feel more entitled and deserving.

thank you black coffee.
thank you for being plain + plainer.
simplifying my perspective.

and my heart pours out to our precious friends.
thank you for sharing your sweets with us.
bailey is always near our hearts and continues
to bring perspective to our lives
and point us to the One.

For I am His,
and He is Mine.
that is where true fuel is found.

**if you want to know more about can find her story here at seven sparrows.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

my list of SEVEN (8)

i keep praying...
because i've never even done a fast for longer than a day,
 or at least stuck with it to do it well.
last year, for lent, i said i would fast from sugar.  
i lasted a whole 2 days.  my own daughter, 
who was 6 at the time, asked
 if i was sure i wanted to give up sugar for lent.  
she suggested i try something a little easier that i could give up-
like vegetables?  uh, yea.  that was humbling.

 praying over this is where i am at.  
i really want to see what God shows me through this 
and where He will lead.
and, at the end, i don't want to regret not finishing. 
i desire be disgusted with my excess.
because i know myself...the more i have-the more- my life
is about me.  less of me and more of you Jesus.

here we go...
 Chapter 1:  Food

doing this book with 35 other girls is so fascinating!!
it is incredible to hear how each girl is praying over
this...truly pouring over it making it their own.

there are so many different ways to fast.

some are using their lunch time to fast,
pray and connect with their kiddos.
others are eating only "clean" food.
some are only making meal selections based on
what they currently have in the refrigerator and pantry.
a few are giving up eating out, extra snacks & starbucks
and some are choosing from 7 food items to eat.

i chose the latter.  choosing 7 foods. 
this is what i came up with:

my fab 5:  spinach, chicken, apples, egg + ww bread
my 3 luxury items:  avocado, greek yogurt + coffee
so, i know...i have 8 right?  well, that's where my
3 luxury items come in on rotation.  i am allowing
myself 2 luxuries a day, along with my 5 essentials.

**side note**
and you know what's great...
my kind of luxury coffee is a caramel macchiato from starbucks.
bring in the hallelujah chorus and little cherubs waving wands.

but, luxury is taking on a whole new meaning to this girl with her 7.
luxury coffee for the next 2 weeks is black.  black as in PLAIN-coffee black. 

it's hot...i'll give it that.  

okay...sorry for the diversion...
my experience in the grocery store:

 i'm walking aisle to aisle searching for my 7 (8) items
 and i stopped at the waffles and just stared at them.
i mean, was i a little bit thinking that waffles could fit into my essentials?  
well, maybe.. but more than that, i am struck with this thought of how
immensely lucky i am that i can go to any store i want and buy food.
and not only do i get to buy food...
i have 7 different kinds of waffles-from the same brand to choose from.
i know...i'm such a genius.
these things probably come to most people as they shop through the grocery.
but, it hasn't hit me like that before.
i didn't realize how much i would see on day 1 alone.

 {jumping back to leftovers for a second from my earlier post}

on day two,
 i had plain chicken in my refrigerator
just sitting there.  i didn't let myself think about
it too long.  i got it out, warmed it up
and had it for lunch.
and, there were cheers.
crowds roared in amazement.  
well, my crowd of 3 sure did some clapping for me. ;)

and, i'm still alive today.  i didn't waste what i normally would have...
and, for the most part, i stuck to my 7.
with the exception of 4 peanut m&ms that were sitting in a 
bag in my pantry begging for me to eat them.

so, my friends...
this is happening.
an experimental mutiny against excess.

the 2 places where i think God is leading me...

we started March 1. 
I'll let you know how it goes.