Monday, December 22, 2014

Mama Math

So math isn't something I love. Not something I am good at. As a matter of fact, it is officially documented as to how un-good I am when it comes to math.

I had to take a compass test before I enrolled in college courses some 20-ish (see, I can't come up with the number) years after I would be considered a traditional college student.

As it turns out, I am pretty good when it comes to words, grammar and style.

But when it comes to math, I have to take a math course in order to get in to a math course.

But there is some math that I totally get. And specific equations seem to make perfect sense.

For example, there are:

13 days until Nathan turns 18,
21 days until he starts his first day as a senate page

And that adds up to:

6,570 days that I have cared for him
6,840 days that I have prayed for him

I'm not for certain if this is called inverse proportion, but it seems to work that way.

The less days I have with these kids adds up to that many more days that I have prayed for and loved them.

That's what I call, Mama Math.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's how I make like Mary in the busyness of all the days...

So I am doing this advent-like devotional using my you-version bible app. I love this. These are just short and sweet snippets of bible and devotion that help me get into the right mindset about the Christmas season.

Anyways, today I read a few verses out of Luke chapter 2 where the shepherds had come to see then new baby Jesus (I remind myself of "Ricky Bobby" from Talladega Nights when I say the words baby Jesus out loud.) and then they went out to tell everyone about Him before returning and praising God for everything they had "heard and seen." (See Luke 2:17-20 if you want to read it.)

There was one thing that jumped out at me in the middle of these few verses.
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
verse 19

With all the things going on, Mary just quietly treasured it all and reflected on these things in her heart.  

That made me think of why I take pictures. Lots of them. 

First of all, I love it. There is something about capturing the moment and not realizing that it was the moment until I get to go back and ponder and reflect on it.

It is how I like to remember things. Words, yes; but images too. 

Taking pictures is my way of freezing a moment (my superpower) in time that I never want to forget so I can pull it out later and remind myself. Of all the things. Not just the fancy things. The posed for pictures. But the random moments that make up each day.

I wonder if Mary knew in those first moments that she would have to give her baby up to the world. 
If she later went back to those moments she tucked away in her heart for comfort.

I know it's different, but I'm pretty sure I am already getting pretty sentimental about sending my babies out in to the world. 

I'm glad for the moments I took time to treasure up.

How do you take time in your busy life to reflect and treasure up? Do you take pictures? Journal? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Random Thoughts of Thankfulness

It's my Thanksgiving tradition to post my list of random thoughts of thankfulness. If I were really good about this sort of thing, I would put in writing something that I am thankful for every day.

But I'm not. Good at this.

I am, however, extremely thankful for the many wonderful and wild and weird blessings God has given me.

So, in no particular order, my annual list of things I am thankful for:

My job. Actually, jobs. All of them. At times I get overwhelmed feeling like I am going in so many different directions. And this year my jobs have all evolved a little. At the chiro clinic where I work as an LMT, I took on a new role there doing some secretarial things. By "secretarial," I mean I mostly chat with patients in the waiting room. And other things. But I love it and the additional hours there have actually brought me some more massage work.

As far as writing goes, I still freelance for the QC Times. I have also taken some sports photos for the Tipton Conservative. AND....I signed a contract over the summer to ghostwrite a book. I am still working on this project. It's probably the biggest writing project I have ever done. Definitely a learning experience. I can't wait to tell you all about it. But for now, I have to keep things kinda quiet! 

Nathan's Shower Playlist: I love it that my son plays his music and sings real loud in the shower every morning. I love it even more that his playlist sounds equal parts like a high school dance and a sunday morning worship service. #heartwarming

Sports: The kids are all involved in sports. And I get to watch them all. All the time. In the past, I might have complained about this, but now that we are starting to experience some "lasts" like senior night and things like that, it is so real how quickly the time goes by. How blessed I am to be able to enjoy this now. 

Traveling: For the short road-trips that I have been able to take with and for my kids and Brian's kids. 

Cheese. Because I love cheese. And it's what you say when you take a picture. 

Photography. Because it is how I like to journal my memories. 

This Crew: who I feel like I just don't deserve. But they all call me "mom." I'm so glad God gave them to me.

Energy Drinks: Specifically the Passion drink from Yoli. If you didn't gather this, we are pretty busy.  A little healthy energy drink goes a long way in my day. 

Other Things I am Thankful For:

The Big Things
The Little Things
Middle School Kids Who Wear Deodorant.
Marz who loves to sing and is always a good friend
Claire who works hard in quiet ways
Tookie who lets me baby her in ways that she is too old for
Nathan who is decided to grow up and move out next month. (Actually he has a job working at the state capitol, which is so cool. and awful.)
Brian who works full time, takes college classes and still makes time to attend things for all of our kids.
Ty who works at the college he graduated from. Making a difference in students' lives.
Brady who moved to K-State, is probably homesick, but does his thing on the track team and in classes. He is going places.
Brinn who is rocking her classes, and the volleyball court. 
Christmas lights.
Hallmark Movies.
The Real Housewives.
The kids' teachers.
Holly the secretary.
Dove Chocolate.
Red Wine.
New Friends.
Old Friends.
Pretty Chandeliers. 

You. If you are reading this then I want to say that I am thankful for you. I know you don't have to. But you still take the time to follow me here. That's actually an honor to have you here. Thank you.

So my list is not complete and completely random. But that is okay. God says to give thanks in all things ( 1 Thessalonians  5:8)....and that is what this is all about. 

How about any random thoughts of thankfulness you would like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mom/Travel Agent

I remember the first time I let the kids walk to the library by themselves. We used the "Dora the Explorer" method for remembering the route.  You know how she would list the landmarks she would see on her way to her destination? We did the same thing.

Go past Grandma's
Past the school
and right at the library!
Say it with me now:
Grandmas, School, Library!

If you have no idea what I am talking about when I mention geography according to Dora, then I may sort of envy you. But it was an effective way for the kids to remember the directions to the library. And other than looking both ways before crossing the street, there wasn't really too much to worry about in letting the kids walk to the library by themselves.

Tomorrow I'll be sending Nathan off an another adventure of his own. It's a little bit farther than going to the library.

I'm writing this blogpost from a hotel that is just across the street from the St. Louis International Airport. Nathan has an awards banquet tonight for the National Council on Youth Leadership here in St. Louis. And tomorrow morning I will put him on an airplane, so he can make an interview that he has tomorrow in Des Moines. He has a change-over in Chicago.

Somehow the Dora method for giving directions for airport security and flying and changing planes isn't quite the same as walking past grandma's house and turning at the elementary school.

We sort of had to put all these plans together at the last minute. When he won a scholarship for this trip to St. Louis, he didn't know that he would be granted an interview for the Page Program the next day. So I've been playing the role of travel agent in trying to coordinate all of the details and make it as simple as it possibly can be.  Since for much of it, I won't actually be there with him.  

I suppose I always have been sort of a travel agent with my kids. 

I've spent their entire lives helping them to prepare for a world outside of our home and for experiences that are new. 

I've tried to warn them of hazards that may come about. Potential detours. Things they may encounter. 

Up until now, the world outside of our home still included the comfort of our school and community. Home outside of our home was still home. 

And I'm not waving and watching the kids ride their bikes down the block. I'll be seeing them off at the security check-points at an airport and waving goodbye as they fly away to the next adventure. 

Hopefully, through the years, I've been a decent enough travel agent. We are a long way past grandmas and the library.

Monday, October 13, 2014

He Cared

Growing up in and living in a small town has it's strengths and has it's drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is small-town gossip. People seem to think they know more about you than they do, because they heard something from so-and-so who had such-and-such thing to say and then an opinion based on the so and such.

The strength that can come from this drawback is that every once in a while, a friend, neighbor or acquaintance will come alongside you when life is rough, even though you did not say anything to ask for that help.

I have found both of these things to be true in my church and in my community. But when the negative side happens in the church, it speaks louder than when it happens in the community. The same can be said for when the positive happens in the community. It tends to speak louder than the church.

A wonderful man in the community that I live in passed away last night.

I have known who he was for years. I wrote for the local paper and he would always tell me how he would clip and share my columns with others. When we ran into each other around town somewhere, he would ask what the next story I was working on was. He would encourage me to keep sharing these stories.

When I divorced, I moved my family into a small condominium that was located in the same neighborhood. When the weather was good for the windows to be open, not a day went by when I did not hear him singing or whistling.  And when I would see him, he would ask me if everything was ok.

And he always asked when he would be reading the next article or column that I wrote.

I had stopped writing for the local paper when I was going through my divorce. I believed it would be a temporary thing. But in the end, it turned out to be permanent. But that did not stop my neighbor from encouraging me to write.

So I did.

As it turned out, he followed the things I wrote in the larger paper that I had freelanced for. His comments always came in between a song he was singing whenever he ran in to me. And they always came with a question about how I was doing.

Not because he was a nosey neighbor, but because he cared.

I never got the impression that he thought any different of me from when I was married to when I was divorced. That was not the norm for the impression I got from people in my community who knew me pre and post marriage.

Whatever he may have been thinking, I could tell without a doubt, that he cared. That is why he asked. That is why he wanted to continue reading things I wrote. Because he cared.

My heart goes out to his family today as they mourn the loss of a great man. My prayers are with you.

I know his legacy will go far beyond what I say in the two little words here, but to me, I will always remember how:

He Cared.

R.I.P. Leo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

14 Reasons Why I Love my Claire-Bear

Happy Happy Birthday my sweet Claire Bear!

When I asked you what you wanted to do and what you wanted for your birthday, you were very specific.

But not in a demanding way at all. You know what you like to eat, you know what you are saving up money for, you know who your favorite super-hero is, and you know that you wanted to have a conversation with me under the influence of helium.

So, in honor of your 14th birthday, I'd like to share 14 reason why I LOVE LOVE LOVE you.

1.  You are funny AND practical. See the note above about wanting helium-filled balloons. I can't wait to smurf-chat with you later tonight.

2.  You are not afraid to be who you are. You are at an age where so many try so hard to blend in with others around them. Not you. You don't care if you are a leader or a follower. You are you. And that is good enough. I could really really do better in life if I followed this example more.

3.  You are a young lady of few words. But the words you do want to say mean something. You are funny in a quiet way. You share your thoughts in words in a quiet way. The BEST birthday gift I ever received from you was a free pass to ask you any question I wanted and you would answer in the time it took me to pick you up from track practice to get home. Needless to say, I took a few extra left turns. You really do make me dig for information from you. But I still love that about you.

4.  You challenge me to dig deeper. I sometimes do have to wonder what you are thinking and feeling. (as opposed to some of your siblings!)Those thoughts and feelings are important. You challenge me to dig deeper than I would have to with your siblings in order to get to the bottom of your day. I am a better mom because of that. I am a better person because of that.

5.  You build other people up. Your siblings may think that your natural bent is to....i don't know...take advantage of them. It's funny, really. Because I know that your natural bent is really that you see the good and the talent in those around you and you don't try to out-shine them. You recognize them for the good and the talent you see. You know that deep down, it makes others feel good about themselves to be able to showcase their own strengths.

6.  I hear about you showcasing your talents from others...And this is never in a show-y way. I love how you humbly accept recognition from others.

7.  You are not afraid of hard work. You don't pretend to like it...but you are not afraid of it. You go to the school with your brother to shoot hoops and get in extra practice. During the summer, you would run while I tried to keep up with my bike. I think you like blending the family time with the extra work it takes to get better at what you do. I like it too.

8.  Speaking of hard are not afraid to come in second.  Last year you played the B-squad on your basketball team. And you did great. You worked hard. And at the awards ceremony, you were  awarded with both the "most points scored" and the "most breakaways." You beat everyone. But you were only trying to beat your own standards.

9.  Speaking of your own standards...that is what I love about you being in cross country. You are not trying to compete with your own teammates. You are trying to do better on the course this year than you did last year. You are happy when you improve your own time. You are happy when your teammates improve theirs.

10.  I love your eyes. Your heart doesn't always want to tell me what's up, but your eyes give you away every time. Your beauty and intelligence and heart can be revealed through your eyes if anyone were to take the chance to see into them.

11.  Your insecurities. Yes...I love even those things.  Probably because  you try to hide them from the rest of the world. But I see them. I see how you have been studying for the last 364 days for your permit test. I see how you sometimes hesitate.

12.  Your heart for those around you. Even mine. You are sensitive to the feelings of those around you. Like last night, when I asked you to go in to my room to get something I needed....forgetting that  your b-day gift was like RIGHT came out and said nothing. Of course I knew right away that you had seen your gift. But you pretended it was okay. You had a heart for the surprise.

13.  Your dreams for the future.  You are not unlike anyone else your age with hopes and dreams and ideas about what you want to be when you grow up.

14.  Your future.  From this moment forward.  I love that the only thing that you care about for making your dreams come true is whether or not God has those same hopes and dreams. You are a better example of this to me than anyone else in the world that I know.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Homecoming, Hope, and Coming Home

It's homecoming week in our small town.

When you grow up in a community like mine, homecoming is about more than a football game, it's about tradition.
My Incredible daughter and Spider-Man son

Kung Fu and Nerd

The kids have themed dress-up days, compete in games, build floats, auction off football jerseys for charity, have a parade, TP classmates' houses...all building up to Friday Night.

Cleaning the TP off the roof and out of the gutters at 5 a.m.

Tonight there will be a parade. Classes will showcase their floats. The high school band will march. Kings and Queens will be crowned.

The football team will warm-up.

I don't know what the pre-game pep talk from the coaches will be like. If it were up to me, I'd say something like this:

It's Homecoming.
Parents, Alumni, Fans and people in our community will gather tonight to support you.
They will be reminiscing about homecoming games past.
They will say things like "back in the day..."
They will watch you keep the Hope and Tradition of Homecoming alive.

For some of you, this will be the last homecoming game you play.
It is not expected to be an easy game.
You are not expected to win.
It's Homecoming.
It's like the Christmas of the Football Season.
Anything can happen.

Someday, years from now, you may forget some of the games you played during your high school career.
But, for good or for bad,
 you will never forget your four Homecoming games.

So no matter what the odds are
or what the scoreboard says
You go out there and make EVERY PLAY 
a memorable one.
Get fired up
Stay fired up
Believe in your own abilities
and those of your teammates.

And someday, when you come back home from wherever you are
You will be the ones in the stands
Reminiscing about the 2014 Homecoming Game
And the Team that YOU were a part of
Reliving the plays you made
The unbelievable field goals
And how 
even though the odds were not in your favor
And "Buried the Bears"

That's my pep talk. I know it's true because I have been there. Not on the football field, but a part of the Wildcat Homecoming traditions. 

24 years ago, my senior class float had this poem and theme:  
For 20 years, Solon rolled like thunder.
In 1990, they'll be 6 feet under.
Burry the Spartans.

We weren't expected to win.
But we did. 
And we are still talking about it today.
It's a great story to re-tell.

Wildcats--Make tonight's game a GREAT Story to Re-tell!

Go Cats!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bullet-Point Journal of the last month

It's not that I can't write in complete sentences and craft intelligent blog posts about what it going on--it's that I don't have time.

I have to save the "complete" and "intelligent" parts for areas beyond the blog.

But for the purpose of memory keeping and sharing with those who follow me here, this is the nutshell of what I have been up to for the last month. Bullet-Point-Style.

  • College. Me--in college. I'm only taking one class this semester and one is enough. I'm doing a lot of writing in this class, which, as you know is what I love. I find the class a tiny bit challenging and a lot-bit nerve wracking. Something about turning a paper in that you have poured emotion into and then edited to suit the assignment for a grade. I have to save most of my "intelligent" energy for this class.
  • College. Nathan applying for college. He is totally sure of where he wants to go. But mom is forcing him to have a backup plan. Plan A is expensive. 
  • Scholarships. Because Plan A is expensive, scholarships need to be applied for. Here he is winning his first one:

He was one of four (out of 114) to win a $500 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to St. Louis for a "Town Hall Meeting"; another leadership conference which is just sort of right up this kid's alley. He writes speeches at football practice and practices them on the way to the event. He gets just the right amount of nerves. He is a really, really good public speaker.

  • Work. I am still busy working in Wilton. Business is picking up. This is good because we all like to eat.
  • Weight loss. I lost 10 pounds this last month. Kind of crazy, I know. I am working on a writing project for someone who is a Yoli distributor. We made a trade, I got a month supply of products, I lost weight while writing. Yay me!
  • Pictures. Tis the season where I take football photos for the high school football team. I love those Friday Night Lights. I love being able to capture a piece of that for the athletes and families to keep forever. 
  • No weddings. Yet.  Some of you know that last weekend was the "date" that my fiancĂ© and I picked out to tie the knot. We had a little something planned that was supposed to be a surprise to everyone. But it turned out that the surprise was on us. We didn't get married last weekend. 
  • Marz is working.
  • Claire is running cross country.
  • Tookie is playing her first year of junior high volleyball.
  • Nathan is the kicker for football.
  • I love every second of this crazy-busy-bullet-point life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another LAST First Day

I decided to delete my post from a couple of days ago when I talked about my son's last first day of school.

On Monday, I registered the kids for school.  As I was at the school, signing paper after paper, giving out health information (again), purchasing athletic passes, reading computer forms, paying for lunches and all that happens this time every year for the last 13 years.... all became real.

This would be the last time I register my son for school.

Next year, it will be all on him.

Which is another thing.  He's started applying for colleges.  He already has a first choice in schools and a backup-plan if that first choice doesn't work out.  But he is determined to make it all work.

I'd like to make note that this is ALL HIM.  He is determined.  He knows what he wants and where he wants to go.  HE is applying.

While I support him and sob silently in the background.

I'm not sad that he is transitioning from one chapter to the next, and doing an excellent job of it while I try desperately to hold him back  on for a few more minutes.

I'm sad because I feel like I may not have savored every word on every page of every chapter that I have been so blessed to be a part of up till now.  Did I actually wish days away?  What was I thinking?

And not even 24 hours after I signed him up for his last year of high school, he brought home his application for the Iowa Page Program.

You should know that I knew this would happen.  He considered applying for this his junior year, but chose to stay home and be the president of his class and plan a prom.  He wanted to then, but wanted to plan prom too.  So he said, "next year, mama.  Next year."

Now it is next year.

So next week, we will celebrate (or mourn, depending whether or not you are the kid or the mama in this story) another last first day.

I swear, I swear, I will not take a single day of this year for granted.  I will take it all, the hustle, the stress, the everything and savor it.  Or at least I will not wish it away. 

Because for all the time I've invested in these kids....I can see the payoff.  It may have seemed that I demanded a lot from them.  And it's true.  But only because I expect them to be good people.  To love God.  To love each other.  To use the gifts they were each given.  And to let everything else fall into place.  In the process, some things have to fall to the wayside. 

And guess what...sometimes it works out.  I never ever expected anything more than the greatness that is unique to each of my children.  It looks different for them all. 

Which just colors my life.  

Mamas~train you kids to be who they were meant to be and not what anyone else thinks they should be. 
And they just might do it. 

In honor of this new LAST First Day, I'm including a reprint of an article that I wrote and was published several years ago in the Texas Suburban Parent magazine and the Virginia Child Guide.  It is about me sending my youngest off to kindergarten. 


I miss kindergarten.  And I will forever be thankful for the kind school nurse who gave me a box of tissues and didn't rush me out of kindergarten round-up with mascara running down my face. 

It is no longer my current story.  Just a memory.  One I'm determined to keep alive.  If you care to note, there is a comment about "blinking" and knowing that all of this will fly by.  That's my story now.  No blinking.
The Last First Day
By: Robin Paulsen

I’ve spent the last five years, two months and 25 days in complete denial about the inevitable event that will soon take place in our household. Quite frankly, I’ve refused to even think about this particular topic and have ably dodged the questions regarding it from well-meaning friends and family members.
But now, there is no more denying that the dreaded day is upon me. Maybe it’s upon you as well. I’m talking about the last first day of kindergarten.
My baby, the youngest of four, will soon be skipping off into the land of public education and structure as I smile, wave and tell her to have fun, all the while, suppressing my tears. Because after this day, I will never again have another “first day” of kindergarten. This is the last one. I’ve been around the mother-hood long enough to know all too well that I am going to just blink and she’ll be getting her driver’s license and shopping for prom dresses. I’ll blink again and find her walking across a stage as she accepts her diploma.
That settles it. I’m done with the blinking.
My baby, of course, having watched three older siblings going off to school, has been waiting her whole life for this day. She has practiced all she thinks she needs to know before walking into a classroom. Tying laces, zipping zippers, and reciting her address and phone number are all a breeze for her. She can write her alphabet. The proof is permanent and on our basement wall. And not being satisfied with just saying, recognizing and writing her ABC’s, she has successfully burped her way through the alphabet song. In her mind, this feat must be worth some sort of extra credit.
It’s true that I’m sad. Sad that a chapter of her life is about to come to an end. But I’m also proud of the fact that I get to be her mommy in every chapter of her life.
And to answer all those questions as to my plans for the school year, I’m not sure what that will look like. I’m not quite to that chapter of my life and, right now, I’m content to savor every page of this one.

I do have a couple of predictions, though, on what the last first day will look like for me. I do believe that a staff member of our school will hand me a tissue and escort me off the property. I’ll go home, drink a hot cup of coffee without having to reheat it, use the bathroom without interruption, and perhaps, read an entire magazine article from start to finish.

But I definitely will not blink.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"I could complain, but nobody would listen..."

...that is why I blog.

Today has been a pretty awful day.  It sort of reminds me of the song by Shania Twain that goes...

Honey I'm home and I had a hard day.
Pour me a cold one
 And oh, by the way,
Rub my feet
Give me something to eat
Cuz hey, honey I'm home.

 The only flaw being that HOME is where all the hard day happened.  

I'm ready to go back to work!  

For the selfish purposes of venting, and hopefully feeling better after, here's my day:

Alarm goes off.
Sleep 30 minutes past alarm.
Wake up to this....


Thank you, dogs.
Go to let dogs outside.
The rope is wrapped around my car tire.
I step in doggie-doo trying to get the rope out.
To no avail.
Grab my keys to move car.
Tie up dog.
 Notice that his food which was left out from earlier is crawling with ants.
So I kick the food out before dog can start in.
Which I'm certain has garnered some looks 
from neighbors or 
businesses located close by
who may have already been alerted to my mood towards said dogs
Since windows are open.
(note....I was not teasing my dog with food only to kick it out away from him.)
(I was keeping him from eating ants.)
(Besides, he's already eaten our leftover supper.)
So I spray the ants off the sidewalk 
And the doggie-doo off my shoes
And head back inside to get ready for my work day.
Which was wonderful, I'd like to say.
Until I received text messages from my kids that they were finding chicken bones hidden in the cushions of the couch.
So now I'm home.
And I have some furniture to vacuum.
But I wanted to complain about it first.  
Thank you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Have you heard the one about the traditional and non-traditional student?

What's the difference between a "traditional" and a "non-traditional" college student?

I'm joking.  Kind of.

When I'm nervous, I tend to hide behind humor. 

Today I start back to college for the first time in over 20 years. 

I have taken several different types of classes and attended writers' conferences over the years, but I never actually obtained a degree.

Today I take the first step towards that goal.  Because I can.

I'm nervous because what if I spend the next five years working towards it and I end up taking care of parents or grandkids?  What if I end up landing the perfect-for-me job at a newspaper and I end up not even needing that degree?  What if the book(s) I write take off and I end up traveling and speaking? 

What if?

I've finally come up with the answers to those questions:  I will be a caretaker/reporter/author/speaker/traveler with a degree.

Today I'm taking that first step.

I've got my back-to-school outfit all picked out....

It's a good thing that my first class is online.  The other college kids might make fun of my jammies.

 And my designed-for-comfort footwear. 

Because, you know, I am a non-traditional student.  Proof is right there on my left foot. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Turkey and Cheese Love

 This is a repeat post from last year.  
This summer looks pretty similar, minus a couple of details here, sprinkling a few over there, still packing lunches and spending hours on end at the ballpark.
Hope you are enjoying your summer. 
Thanks for stopping by and visiting me here at Write-On, Mom!  

Nothing says "I love you" like a turkey & cheese sandwich with mayo and mustard.

Or so I'm told.

The Wildcat has been putting in 40 hours a week at his summer job.  He leaves there and heads off to baseball every night.  He dresses for three teams.

I'm sorta proud of this kid.

Earlier this month, I told him I would pack him a cooler and drop it off to him.  I did exactly that.  When I approached the dugout he looked at me like "what are you doing here?" 

Not the reaction I had hoped for.  I handed him his lunch and walked away.  And held back my tears.

The next game I did the same thing.

And the next game.

And the next.

His reaction quickly changed over the course of the month.  And I actually got a "Thanks, mama. I love you."

Did you read that?

He said it.  In the dugout.  With team and coaches present.  

I handed him his cooler and walked away.  And held back my tears.

Yesterday the Wildcat told me that in between games, one of his teammates said "Nathan, your mom must love you."

"Why's that?" he wondered.

"She always makes you a big lunch for your games."

"Ya.  She does."

Be still my heart....I do.

I'm adding this to my "Mama Bible":   
And this is how you will know thy mama's love for you:
 by the contents of thy lunchbox
Which overfloweth with Turkey and Cheese
PB & J
Fruit Snacks, Gatoraide 
All of that
and a bag of chips


Monday, June 2, 2014

New Role, New Student and Newly Signed

So there's alot going on behind the scenes here at Write-On, Mom!.

In the last few weeks, I signed on for some new responsibilities at work, I signed up for some new classes in college and.....I signed a contract to write a book.

Allow me to expand:

New Responsibilities:  No secret I am a licensed massage therapist practicing at the Wilton Chiropractic Clinic.  Recently our office manager retired.  I am not the new office manager.  But I am taking on some of her responsibilities alongside my massage work that I do there. 

New Classes:  I write for the QC Times.  And I love it.  I am not on staff but on a work-for-hire basis there.  Someday it would be great if I were on staff there.  I asked my editor a few questions and he let me know that even though I have the bylines, in 5 years if I want to contend with the others applying for staff positions, it would do me well to take some courses in multi-media journalism.  So I am.

Newly Signed:  Last week I signed a contract to write a book. 
I've been writing newspaper and magazine articles for years...and books that mostly exist in my head for years.  But this book isn't in my's in someone elses!  I'm a ghostwriter.  I'll be putting pen to someone else's story. Sounds kinda creepy.  But I'm officially a "ghost." 


Dear Blog Readers,  You have told me time and time again that I put words to your emotions.  QC Times subjects have told me that I have put words to their thoughts.  And even people that I have taken sports and wedding photos for have told me how I have been able to capture their story. 

Now I will be capturing another's a. book.

Big deal to me. 

I feel like going out to buy a new backpack. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Son Still Wants to be Spider-man When He Grows Up

So the Wildcat still wants to be Spider-man when he grows up.

He's wanted to be this species of super-hero ever since he was like four.

This hasn't changed.

He still laughs in the face of danger, pretends to sling his web at people or situations that seem to warrent a good web-slinging, (sound effects and all) and insists that any bug bite, bruise or welt is a spider-bite intended to increase his super powers.

(I admit that I may have entertained this thought when undergoing a bone marrow biopsy a couple of years bad)

The only thing that has changed is his age, size and voice.

He's 17, barely fits in his own bed, and when he says "mama, can you sing me 'sunshine'?" as a bedtime song, it sounds exactly the same except that his voice is like way, way lower.  And I can tell that he needs to shave.  

I love how some things never change. 

It's probably good that his 17-year-old Spider-man personality also sees fit to aspiring to be involved with the Senate, Congress, Education, Business, and Government.

Spid-ey characteristics probably would work well with any of these things....just not a BOX to check or MAJOR or MINOR or even a CERTIFICATE when planning a college career.

Perhaps that change is in the works.

But for now, since I haven't seen evidence of spidey-traits being publicly recognized....AND after talking with his sisters, it is clear that I need to talk to him about how pretend-web-slinging is not a good defensive driving technique.

Because not everyone understands and is ready for Spider-man to be driving his sisters to school.

(Or attending college.)

In case you were wondering what Spiderman looks like, here are a few then and now shots:

Christmas 2008
Jr. High Football

Reading Names of WWII Veterans at Memorial Day Services

Spidey with his mama.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

And a word about childhood BFFs

It's May 18th.  I don't notice the date right off the bat. 

I notice that it is Sunday.

I'm having my coffee, watching the Food Network and browsing ads. 

But it just feels like something, something, about this date is not right.

Am I forgetting something? 

And then I see the date at the top of the paper. 

May 18, 2014.

It's Marnie's Birthday.  OF COURSE!

Marnie is my childhood "BFF."  Best friends forever. childhood goes, my very first BFF. 

But Marnie.

My very first BFF.  Slumber parties.  Trying to match clothes.  Nick-names.

It all comes back when I think of my very first Best Friend Forever. 

My 1st BFF is one of 4 sisters.  So slumber parties with just her actually looked more like a party with each sister inviting a friend to spend the night.

One of the sisters and her friends would lead "dance parties" when there was absolutely "NO NON-MOVEMENT ALLOWED."  If you had to pee, a witness had to be present to make sure your feet were still moving. 

I remember dancing the night away to Jessie's Girl.  It was a record.  Played over and over. 

"Haunted tours" were led and attended by many a sister-and-friends" in the dark.  We would hang on to a rope and be led around the house and outside the house, in the dark. 

Crushes were not only discussed, but prank called....during a time when there was no blocking your number, and 10 times out of 10, you would have to ask the parent answering the phone to speak with said crush. 

"Do you like 'so-and-so?' she wants to have your children.'"  Some times, some "friends" would not wait for the "crush" to get on the phone.  Parents were horrified.  Thank goodness for no "caller ID."  

My BFF and I really wanted to be blood sisters.  So did some of her sisters and friends.  But we were all afraid of blood and skin-pricking and all of that. 

So we became "fire-sisters." 

As I look back, I wonder how that is better.  A bunch of us standing around and joining our lit matches in "ceremony" does not actually sound safer. 

But so. very. 1980's', with a flair of "Stand by Me" and "The Sandlot." 

My childhood BFF moved away after middle school.  Probably 30 miles away.  Not a lot by today's standards.  You pretty much have to drive 30 miles or 30 minutes to get anywhere you wanna go.  

But during a time when 30 miles meant "long distance," "new school," and BFFs. 

Facebook didn't exist.  Cell phones were actually carried around in their own bags and not a given for most families in Iowa.

30 years ago, 30 miles may as well have been a million.

But today, as I think about what is missing, 30 years feels like yesterday.

And yet I still feel connected.

A bond that was unique to childhood BFFs will always belong to childhood BFFs.  I know that today because I can't drink my coffee and read the paper without wondering...."is something missing?"

I'm thankful today for facebook, the world-wide-web, the community that can be created virtually. 

But I'm also thankful for the times when we were kids.  When every moment could not be captured by the lens of a camera, but only by the lens of the mind. A time that can not be recreated. 

A time when "fire sisters" was not a term relegated to pyromaniacs, but just friends who stood outside a stable wanting to have an official initiation into a club that could never again be recreated. 

A time for me, as mama, hope that my own kids will have with their own childhood BFFs.  Not one that was captured by camera, by status update, or by cellphone.

But a time that can only truly be remembered because of the heart.  

A bond between childhood BFFs. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Movie-Screen Motherhood & Facebook Statuses

I'm not gonna lie.

If you are stopping by here to read my story, of motherhood, of the writing life, of whatever....I can only assume that you are related to me.

Or that you can relate to me.

And I mean no offense either way. But let's face own story is not one that will make the movie screen.

I used to wish that it would.  That mamas everywhere would be just so interested in my motherhood story that they invite me to come, expenses paid, to visit with their group and want to buy my book.

And not to say that I wouldn't have a story to share in public or a book to sell....but I am a REAL mama.

I have REAL kids.

And our lives, as they are now, are not going to end up on a movie screen or some best-selling story. Not to say that they couldn't.  But that isn't our goal.

Allow me transition this post to facebook statuses....

I have recently been "nominated" on FB to share my favorite bible verse...and why...twice.

So I did.  I picked a new one each time.  Not because I am wishy-washy in this type of thing....but it is honestly hard to pick a favorite bible verse for me.

That is only because I have had seasons of life where one just "fits."

But for the sake of the now and this post...I shared Matthew 25:40:

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

And I shared Psalm 107:2a:
Let the redeemed of the Lord say this....

Both verses speak to me.  In the same way that God sometimes uses nature to speak to some, or another person to speak to another....I'm not one to judge that sort of thing.

But God speaks to me through "story."

And these two verses remind me to share my story.  (Let the redeemed of the Lord "share their story")  And not in a way that means movie screens and manuscripts.  But for the ONES (whatever you did for "one....")

My story is Motherhood.  And I'm proud of that story.  God gave me this story.  And it isn't an easy one.

But I'm eternally grateful for the storyline. 

I supposed, as a writer, I am trained to look at each storyline differently.  And as a mama...that is the way it is supposed to be.

Each day is a new page to write on.

And each child has their own "book."

It is a privilege to be called to contribute to each page of each child, no matter how insignificant any particular page may appear at first. 

But I am getting to that stage of motherhood where all of those diaper changes, laundry issues, and chicken nugget lunches just feel different.

These are not the movie-screen-things you typically see in the life of "motherhood."

But they are real.

Real. Life.

And it does lead to somewhere.

That's why I love the bible verses I shared, I guess.

Can I rant in italics?

So my calling in life
thus far
to take care
and diaper, feed, raise you
to pray over and for you
to help you to find your own purpose.....

....has been my purpose.

I love my purpose.

But I know that my purpose will never actually
get me farther in the world
as far as profiting from it
in word
or byline recognition
(which is where I'm at right now)

But that is okay.
Because it doesn't matter to me if I 
anyone else 
if I cannot use my own storyline to 
be there for my own kids.

to tell my own kids
that if their own 
"lines in a story"
that fill their own blank pages
doesn't sound interesting

if the blank pages 
that are yours to fill
would be anything less that the
that you want to write
with your life


Storylines may change.
But you
fill the blank pages.

get to be a character 
in your story.

An honor.
A credit.
But not the storyline for you.....

...just me.

I really need to edit this post to make sure that it includes my kids that aren't really my kids.  I know that I am not qualified to be the "mama" character in your own stories.  But I am right there in your stories and I pray for you. I support you in ways that are unseen.  

And I will continue to do that.  

Because you deserve it and I am called to it.

are a part of 
my story

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Because it's a Dream

I have dreams.  Lots of them. 

Some of them goals.  Things I am actively striving for. 

The steps may appear small, but this day (week/year)'s outcome is far more than it was a year ago. 

 And those are just my personal dreams and goals.  They are meant for later.  After the work I am doing now. 

And that work right now, quite honestly, means everything to me. 

They are not "ideas" I hope to build on for later. 

They are what my heart beats for right now.

Yesterday, I came face-to-face with what my work could lead to.  Deep down, it was emotional for me, it was something I just wanted to stop, and it included some hard conversations that I just did not want to have.

But the day happened.  So did some conversations.  And I realized, as hard as this is, it is something that I should be proud of.

Took the Wildcat on a college visit. 

The college is great.  It is the perfect fit for a university in the specific area and the things he is looking for in a college.

He wants to be in the political arena.  This college is in the same city as our state's capital.

He wants to incorporate actual class time and experience at the same place.  He gets that even in the first semester at this college.

So let's say he changes his mind in the first year.  So what...everyone does.  This college curriculum is set up for students to figure this out sooner rather than later.  

But let's say he doesn't.  Not only does he know what he thinks he knows....he actually knows more.

I'm gonna go with the idea that everything he has learned in every step of his life is leading him to this step in choosing a college major.  Without coercion, he wants to make a difference in the political arena. 

I've seen him.  I've seen what he does and what he loves.  I can make that observation better than anyone.

I've toured the college with him.

I experienced the sale's pitch.

And I followed up with questions.

So here we are with a goal.

On our ride home from the college we spoke of every good,every bright, every bad, every ugly thing.  

And we decided.  From here on out...on every college visit, we are aware of all that we like about this college.  Every other place will probably be held up to the plumb line set yesterday.  That is okay. 

We decided...that every scholarship application was no longer just a blind stab in the dark.  This was the goal the Wildcat is shooting for. 

That goal does have a dollar amount attached to it now.  That is okay.  Maybe that is better. 

But the goal involves even more than that. 

It involves a commitment.  Something we have talked about many times before now.  But now the end of "the now"(which is not the end...just a transition) has a name as well.

It's something I try hard to instill with all of my kids, but somehow it means more when you are in high school.

The speech goes something like this: 

So hey....where do you want to be a couple of years from now?  Or four?  
Here?  There?   In the capital building?  Married?  Thinking about getting married? 
All of that is great.  I see you there too.  
I can't control what you do.  
I used to.
I used to monitor every TV show you watched.  
I used to have to sign off on your homework every single night.
I used to show up in your classroom to volunteer and it was never seen as anything but 'ok.'
But you are  17. (or 15, 13, 11)
You pretty much do what you want to do (not completely, specially the youngers...but I only say that publicly because I know you are a good kid...)

So here's my advice:

Where do you see yourself?  

Two years?  Four Years?  even Ten Years?

Picture it.  All.  
 Not just professional, but personal, too.  

It's all probably a big dream.  
But now is the time to take steps towards those dreams.

I can't always tell you how to get there.

But I can tell you this:  

Take every choice to heart today.
When you are faced with a decision or choice,
Weigh it against your goals and dreams.
Is it a choice that could hinder any of that? 
Could that choice prohibit your goals/dreams?
Could it make any explanation awkward later in life? 
Then make your choice based on that.

Your dreams are big. 
So is your faith.
And so is my faith in both.
Make your decisions today based on your goals for tomorrow.  
Don't hope that you never have regrets...
Plan on not having them. 

God is who He says He is and can make good out of anything.
But you are smart and responsible and a leader.
That is your giftedness.
You are expected to use your giftedness.

And who am I?
Just mama...

So now we have a goal.  A place.  And a price.  
I'm trusting 
and doing everything I can to help make that dream come true.  

Because that is what mama does.  
...taking my responsibility seriously
in encouraging you in yours.
Your mama loves you
every step of the way. 


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The In-Between

Yesterday was Good Friday.

A handful of years ago, I wrote about my take on Good Friday....and what's so good about it anyway.  Feel free to check that out HERE...

Tomorrow is Easter.

Today is the "in between."

I hate in between.

In between represents waiting.

In between means not knowing.

When someone says "I'm 'in between' jobs," it means they don't have one.  They used to.  And they hope to again.  They are waiting.  In between.

When someone says "I'm 'in between' a rock and a hard place," they are feeling stuck.  Trying to make a decision between two things; neither of which sound hopeful.

I am in an "in between" stage in life.  Not a rock-and-a-hard-place sort of thing.  And not an 'in between something I used to have and something I hope to.

Just in-between.

Kids are growing up.  They still need me as their mama.  Present and accounted for.  But not in the same way they needed me 5, 10 and 17 years ago.

And not the same way they will need me in another 5, 10 and 17 years.

I'm in an 'in between' state with my relationship.  Not married, but not just dating.  Not a bad thing, by any means...just 'in-between.'

I learned that I'm sort of 'in between' when it comes to my professional writing status.  I have the experience and bylines.  But not the degree.  I'm taking steps towards the latter while continuing with the former.  Not a bad place.  But between.

Personally, I have hope for all of the areas that I am 'in between' in. 

And I am reminded of that today....the Saturday in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Last night I watched the "Passion of the Christ" with Brian and his daughter.  It was horrific.  It brought to life the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

There was nothing pastel or spring-like or warm and fuzzy about Mel Gibson's depiction.

It was a visual reminder of the evil that exists and the evil that Jesus took on.  For me.

I've seen this movie before.  And I've taken away different messages from it before.

But this time I was struck by something way different.


What must Mary have thought as she watched her son tortured?  Surely, as a mama, she thought she would never recover. 
What did the disciples think while they watched the one they followed die.
Surely everything they thought was going to happen didn't play out they way they envisioned...during the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.
Surely Peter, who denied Jesus 3 times when all of this was going on, was distraught and not sure if he could ever recover.  

Surely anyone who was there, who had witnessed Jesus say "it is finished," and then die, questioned whether or not there was any hope beyond that.

Especially the day after.

The day in between.  The day of darkness.  The day of no hope. 

The day in between what you have seen and what you don't yet know.

Fortunately,  the end of the story is so way far out there, way far better, and way far witnessed and true.

Jesus did conquer death.  And He did it the way it was prophesied.  As the temple that was rebuilt after being destroyed 3 days before.

I could elaborate on that.  Show scripture. Act spiritual.   Pretend that I understand way more than I do. 

Maybe another time.

Right now it is Saturday.

The day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

For me as a christian, I can say I understand and believe the end of the story.  That's why we can call Good Friday, Good Friday.

For today....I understand the Saturday.

The in-between.

The part where everything looks dark, nothing is certain, and hope is something that just might have died a day ago.

I'll bet that others can relate to this in their own lives.

All I can say is that I know the end of the story.

I don't know how it will look here on earth.  I don't even know what we are having for Easter dinner tomorrow.

But I know that in the end of the "Easter Story," after Jesus is seen and he tells others in Mark 16:7 "but go, tell the disciples and tell Peter...."

Jesus wanted Peter to come.  To know.  That even though Peter denied Jesus, as was predicted, there is still hope.  Jesus is alive. And Peter is loved.  And wanted.  And not forgotten.  And specifically asked for.

I makes the whole "in between" thing okay for me.

Not 'cause I have all the answers.  And not because I want to answer for anyone else but myself.  And not because my answer is the same as yours, because you are a follower of Christ. 

But because Christ is who He said he was.  He did what He said He would do.  And He did and accomplished what was prophesied.  (journalist tend to look for facts over feelings)

There was an 'in between.'

And there is now.

I know where my "in between" is.....

and I know it won't be the same for you.

But no doubt you are in one.

And here is my *asterisk on this blogpost.....Do you have hope for whatever your tomorrows hold?

I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter if you make tents (Peter), pump gas, give massages, write best-sellers.....

....whether you can see it today or not....

....there is a purpose, even in the in-betweens.

Monday, April 14, 2014

There's an App for That

Whatever question you have, need for information, entertainment or just because...there is undoubtedly an App for that.

Need to know the calorie count of your supper tonight?  There's an app for that.

Want to know what's trending in the news?  There's an app for that.

Want to play a game while waiting in the car in between events at a track meet?  There's an app for that.

Want to keep track of all of the places you've pooped?  It's true; there's an app for that.  *please see footnote for how I know this to be true. *please and thank you.

These days, there is an app for everything. 

I kind of hate this. And I kind of love it. 

When I was a kid, computer class was a 1 semester, optional class.  When we wrote our papers on the computer, the screen was full of "<" and ">" and other coding things and the words of the actual paper felt secondary to the grade if we didn't get all the code for it to print off just right. 

Typing class was also a 1 semester class.  We used typewriters that were plugged in to outlets.  Some of the fancier ones gave us the ability to see on a one-line screen what we had typed in before it would actually type out the line; thus eliminating the need for white-out and typing over it if need be. 

Oh, how vintage.

Things are so way different now.  As I look back and look at the now, it sort of feels like "little house on the prairie" compared to the virtual world I am raising my kids in.

I hate it.  And I love it.

I hate it because we no longer have to walk to the library, spend time browsing the shelves together and pick up our books and magazines that we think look interesting. 

Because there is an app for all of that.

I hate it because I can get the news before I get my actual newspaper, and that was how I relaxed with my coffee before the day started.

I hate it because the dinner time that I knew growing up with actually revolved around food at a table with everyone in the family.  For good or for bad, we connected there.  In person.
Did you know there's an app for that?

Hate that.

But on the other side of the coin, I love it.

I know my kids are involved in school, sports and other worthy things.  They are proud of it and so am I.  I can't always be at everything they are involved in.  But fortunately, there's an app for that.

Living in a divorced situation, I have never underestimated the power of text/photos/snapchat to keep in touch while the kids are with their dad.  I love that app.  I'm sure that works both ways.

When my teenagers send me snapchats of the fun they are it.

When they send me messages of the not-so-fun-stuff....I don't love it, but I love being privy to what's going on.

In all honesty, they are able to keep in touch with me in far more ways than I was with my own parents.

For good or for bad....that connection...I love it.  Especially when it comes to family devotions. 

Long gone are the days when I was able to have "family devotions" the way my parents did; at the dinning table and after dinner.  These days the kids are all over the place and so am I trying to keep up with them. 

But I still try to feed them the way my parents did me...physically and spiritually. 

We may not always be together over a casserole and a scripture verse. 

But I can pack a lunch bag with both.

And when that doesn't work, I can share a link.  An app I share with the kids.  To send a message, read a verse or a quote that goes with the turkey and cheese sandwich I packed for them. 

Turkey and vintage!

But it is where we are.  Physically. 

Spiritually, we share an app.  The bible app.  Yes, there is an app for that. 

The devotional time I grew up with would never work today.  That is not where we are at.  But I can catch up and I can meet my kids in the exact place they are at. 

With the messages that are timeless. 

What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

So there is nothing new under the sun.  But the ways of communicating that are.....

Love it or Hate it.  
One of my favorite phrases goes like this...."if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  

But I draw the line at the "places I've pooped" app.   

It's funny.  But I draw the line. 

* I learned about the aforementioned app from my 17-year-old son who has a goal of adding as many nationally recognized places "he's pooped" to his app.  He assures me that his goal will end once he graduates college because then he wouldn't think it a "mature thing" to add that to his resume.  Clearly he has goals to change the world we live in.  And document it.  
oh my.