traveling light

“Flying is a lot harder than it was before I acquired all these possessions.  The best way to travel, really, is to travel light.” ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Louie was one wise swan. I can’t think of a better way to word the way that possessions weigh you down. I’ve discovered that traveling light is often harder than it seems. Letting go and lightening the load isn’t difficult if there is no attachment. However, memories and sentiment muddle things for me. I often hold onto to things unnecessarily long. Take my childhood collection of ribbons and trophies as an example. These colorful momentos have been gathering dust in a box in our guest bedroom for over 15 years. When we prepared to list our home for sale several months back I asked myself: Do I look at them? No. Do I display them in my house? No. Do I think about them from time to time? No. Is it hard to throw them away? Yes. Do I have to throw them out? No. Will I miss them if I do? I doubt it. Continue reading “traveling light”

be not dismayed

The sky is my living room.  The woods are my parlor.  The lonely lake is my bath.  I can’t remain behind a fence all my life. ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Not long ago the seed of an idea started growing in our hearts.  The concept was simply to loosen our grip on the things that claim so much of our time, money and attention in order to open up our hands to more reaching out and our hearts to embracing things with more eternal value. As this thought pattern matured we began praying and asking God to show us how to respond.  Though many prayers and deep soul searching, a collective and consistent series of events pointed us in the direction of putting our home on the market and waiting for God to respond in His time.

And then He did. He waited and chose not to sell our house in the first few days like I anticipated. He waited and chose not to sell it to the first people who looked at our house as I expected. He waited, allowing me to stand on the water and feel the wind and temptation to take my eyes of the Savior. He waited, allowing me to sit in the wilderness for a time and choose to trust (over and over again) instead of fear.  He reminded me that He is in charge. He gets to make the calls. He alone gets to decide the timeline of my life.  I get to follow. I get to obey. I get to trust. Once again He is moving and leading and we are doing our best to step one foot further into His plan. Continue reading “be not dismayed”

snack shop

Most habits and routines in our home are intentional and planned, but the snack shop was not.  It started out as a fun hands-on one time math lesson for Hunter almost a year ago.  I gave him a dollar and a homemade menu and he purchased his snack(s) for the morning while we discussed coin values and making change. He enjoyed it more than I anticipated and requested that we repeat the routine the next day.  A weekend came and went and both of us forgot about the fun snack shop until a month or two ago when he looked at me with eyes laced with hints of nostalgia and said, “mom, can we do the snack shop again?”

As I thought about it, I realized the snack shop could be a really fun and educational routine in our home.  We began doing it almost every morning between 10:00am and 11:00am. Here is how it works: Using a container of loose change to hold my coins, I “pay” my older two kids (9 and 11) $1.00 and my younger two (3 and 5) 0.10.  The menu is written up on a small white board and changes periodically based on the availability of the items listed.  For my menu items, I stick to basic things that I almost always have on hand and foods that are quick and easy.  I have two columns of prices, one for the older kids and one for the younger kids.  I have a variety of price ranges for the older kids to allow them the opportunity to use different coin values. I often price anything sugary higher than the healthy options and limit the purchases to one.

I began by giving my younger boys ten pennies (counting them out loud) and stuck with that until they were very familiar with the routine.  Later I began giving my 5 year old his pennies two at a time so we could practice counting by twos allowing my 3 year old to listen in and learn as well.  Recently I introduced the dime to my younger two.  I give them a dime and then they trade it in for 10 pennies and then begin to make their purchases. I plan to continue with the dime concept for another month or so until I feel they really have the idea solidified in their mind that one dime is equal to ten pennies.  After that, I will give them two nickels and we will trade those in for ten pennies and then later I will give them one dime which we will trade for 2 nickels which will then be traded for 10 pennies. Continue reading “snack shop”

top three book finds from 2014

Happy New Year!  We have been in Minnesota for the last two weeks relaxing with my in-laws.  I’ve been spoiled in every sense of the word.  Sleeping in, not cooking, reading books and playing games. Don’t get too jealous though because my jeans are feeling a little snug tight. It isn’t my fault however.

My mother in law has stocked her pantry full of different kinds of cookies and treats.  That is not an exaggeration.  I present photo exhibit A (each plastic cool whip type container contains a different type of cookie or fudge).  I count over 10.  And never fear, in the garage there are larger plastic containers to refill these smaller containers as needed! She is amazing and I have the sugar pulsing in my veins to prove it.

All this extra downtime has been great for reading.  I finished two books and Hunter and Ashlyn have almost cleared out the stash I brought along for them as well. As I have been lounging and turning pages through some thought-provoking books, I’ve been secretly wishing I was in a book club so I could verbally process all that I have been taking in. My next best is to share the books with you so ready or not, I am going to start including some posts related to literary loveliness. To start, allow me to share with you my three favorite book finds from 2014: Continue reading “top three book finds from 2014”

warmer together

One thing I would miss, if we ever pack our bags and blow this popsicle joint, is my fireplace. This time of year it is the magnetic glue of our home. We huddle around it, sleep next to it and read by it.  The warmth it gives, both emotionally and physically, simply cannot be overstated.

However, when my mornings get busy and I’m brushing my teeth while making my bed and the kids are hungry and half-dressed, time silently slips past while I forget about the stove in our basement and the embers burn low.

The funny thing about fires is that they can be managed, fed and stoked quite easily while hot, yet they are hopelessly burdensome to resurrect once they have burned low, or worse, gone out.  Not too many mornings ago I chastised myself for lingering too long upstairs before checking on the fire–once again it was on the brink of extinction.  In a desperate attempt to revive the fire quickly, I stacked newspaper, kindling and a few new logs on the embers before I was called away to put out an argument upstairs.  Later, when I remembered my quest, I checked on my fire only to be met with smoldering failure.  You see, you cannot revive a low burning fire quickly, it takes time, attention and just the right kind of fuel.
Continue reading “warmer together”