Saturday, September 24, 2016

Glimmers in the Grime {CELEBRATE This Week: 159}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****



I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going. 
-- Sylvester Stallone

It is my hope to return to this space this weekend to collect some glimmers in the grime of the week. I'm tattered and am so thankful this community is holding on. Keep documenting the good -- it is the way we fight the good fight.

Hugs,
Ruth

Updated:



I was online shopping for a friend's birthday present when I came across the clearance section and then stumbled across a skin for my computer. I do think it is perfect.

I'm learning to do less and be more. I think this is an important concept to learn. It's not an easy concept to learn, but it is an important one. I'll celebrate doing less to be more.

I've forced myself to sit -- just sit. The kids gravitate toward me and they sit -- just sit. They tell me a bunch of stuff about nothing. We laugh and giggle and roll our eyes. I'm reminded how a bunch of nothing usually ends up being something.

I think doing less leads to being more. So I'm learning (once again) to slow down in order to live well. This is a worthy celebration.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hug 'Em {CELEBRATE This Week: 158}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


There was a time in life when I was sure I wasn't going to be a momma. Wanting to be a mom, but thinking you'll never get the chance, isn't very much fun. In fact, it was hands down harder than anything I've faced since being a mom.

As a momma to three kids who come from hard histories, this isn't something I say lightly. In fact, I've really mulled over whether I believe it to be true.

It is.

I also believe since I thought I wouldn't be a momma, and now have the privilege of motherhood, it makes it easier to accept this rocky parenting path. Parenting is never easy. Parenting children who know whole hard histories before you is complicated.

So tonight, I celebrate this:

I have kids to hug.

So even though I don't really know what I'm doing in the whole parenting department, I do know one thing. You can't mess up a hug. When the words aren't right...when things are falling apart...when the consequences are too much...I can offer a hug to my kids.

I have kids to hug. 
And will hug each of them tomorrow.

This is my celebration.




Hug 'Em {CELEBRATE This Week: 158}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


There was a time in life when I was sure I wasn't going to be a momma. Wanting to be a mom, but thinking you'll never get the chance, isn't very much fun. In fact, it was hands down harder than anything I've faced since being a mom.

As a momma to three kids who come from hard histories, this isn't something I say lightly. In fact, I've really mulled over whether I believe it to be true.

It is.

I also believe since I thought I wouldn't be a momma, and now have the privilege of motherhood, it makes it easier to accept this rocky parenting path. Parenting is never easy. Parenting children who know whole hard histories before you is complicated.

So tonight, I celebrate this:

I have kids to hug.

So even though I don't really know what I'm doing in the whole parenting department, I do know one thing. You can't mess up a hug. When the words aren't right...when things are falling apart...when the consequences are too much...I can offer a hug to my kids.

I have kids to hug. 
And will hug each of them tomorrow.

This is my celebration.




Hug 'Em {CELEBRATE This Week: 158}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


There was a time in life when I was sure I wasn't going to be a momma. Wanting to be a mom, but thinking you'll never get the chance, isn't very much fun. In fact, it was hands down harder than anything I've faced since being a mom.

As a momma to three kids who come from hard histories, this isn't something I say lightly. In fact, I've really mulled over whether I believe it to be true.

It is.

I also believe since I thought I wouldn't be a momma, and now have the privilege of motherhood, it makes it easier to accept this rocky parenting path. Parenting is never easy. Parenting children who know whole hard histories before you is complicated.

So tonight, I celebrate this:

I have kids to hug.

So even though I don't really know what I'm doing in the whole parenting department, I do know one thing. You can't mess up a hug. When the words aren't right...when things are falling apart...when the consequences are too much...I can offer a hug to my kids.

I have kids to hug. 
And will hug each of them tomorrow.

This is my celebration.




Hug 'Em {CELEBRATE This Week: 158}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


There was a time in life when I was sure I wasn't going to be a momma. Wanting to be a mom, but thinking you'll never get the chance, isn't very much fun. In fact, it was hands down harder than anything I've faced since being a mom.

As a momma to three kids who come from hard histories, this isn't something I say lightly. In fact, I've really mulled over whether I believe it to be true.

It is.

I also believe since I thought I wouldn't be a momma, and now have the privilege of motherhood, it makes it easier to accept this rocky parenting path. Parenting is never easy. Parenting children who know whole hard histories before you is complicated.

So tonight, I celebrate this:

I have kids to hug.

So even though I don't really know what I'm doing in the whole parenting department, I do know one thing. You can't mess up a hug. When the words aren't right...when things are falling apart...when the consequences are too much...I can offer a hug to my kids.

I have kids to hug. 
And will hug each of them tomorrow.

This is my celebration.




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Throw Caution to the Wind. CHOOSE JOY.


My friend, Jasmine, and I threw caution to the wind and went for a walk despite the sky threatening a storm. 
About halfway through our walk, on the far side of town, the sky cracked and drops drained down. Fortunately we found cover under an old oak tree. We remained dry.
The rain stopped and our walk continued. 
We met some friends and visited until the sky turned night. Leaving, the rain started again. It was just some drops, and we were only a few blocks from our cars.
"Don't you have an umbrella?" 
"Where are your umbrellas?"
"Didn't you bring an umbrella?"
Our three friends were clearly more put together than we were. Jas and I looked at each other and shrugged. "We can walk between the drops," I joked.
We declined their offers to borrow umbrellas or catch a ride to our cars. The rain turned from drops to pelts to buckets.
Jas and I giggled and ran and wiped the water from our faces. The sky boomed. The rain unleashed, and we were drenched.
We laughed more and jumped into our cars.
Water dripped from the brim of my hat. My feet squished in my shoes. My hands were impossible to dry, making the steering wheel slick. 
I started my car and giggled more.
Sometimes we go to great efforts to avoid the storms. Jas and I stood under the oak tree, and the storm passed. We remained dry and unchanged.
Yet, when we kept going despite the storm, good things happened. Jas and I chose joy in the middle of the rain. We're closer friends from weathering the storm.
Storms will come. Let's go through them and become better people despite the grey and rain around us. Trust me, this is the choice I'm making right now -- I'm weathering the storm by choosing joy. I hope you'll leave a comment and let me know that you're choosing joy too!

Friday, September 9, 2016

This I Know {CELEBRATE This Week: 157}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


This I know...
Love grows roots to stabilize families.  * People are inherently good. * Laughter is the best medicine. * Even when you think you are empty on energy, you should still meet with friends. * Prayer matters. * Hope wins. * Joy isn't dependent on circumstances. * Petting a dog is relaxing. * You can never hug too much. * Good things happen to you and through you daily. * Writing is good for the soul.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Holiday {CELEBRATE This Week: 156}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****


It is a holiday weekend. The origin of holiday means, "holy day." It's intended to be for rest and relaxation. The nature of holy is sacred.

I'm not always so good at making a holiday a holy day.

I celebrate that this holiday weekend is going to be filled with holy days. Andy and I are pulling our little family close and celebrating together. We are unscheduled. We are laughing. We are purposefully resting and relaxing.

It started Thursday night and already we can see our kids relaxing. We can feel burdens lifted from our shoulders. We remember that life is very good -- all the time.

Share your holiday celebrations...




Saturday, August 27, 2016

Faith {CELEBRATE This Week: 155}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****

It's been a bit of a rough week. I want to celebrate. I stare at the cursor blinking in the post box, and I don't know what words to type. It's the end of a too hard week. I could make a little list of things to celebrate...
  • sweet coffee
  • stories around the campfire
  • cotton candy sunrises

And they would be true celebrations, but my soul would be weary and I would still be wondering what words I should have typed. I would miss the celebration.

Because the truth is sometimes life is hard. You get to the end of the day and realize you are out of hours and important things are going to be left undone. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you disappoint. Other times, no matter how long you think, you still don't know if you are making the best decision. 

I find celebrations moment by moment. I flip my thinking and find the small joys...
  • laughter after school
  • freezer meals that make dinner a snap
  • a Saturday morning all my own

Even though I am worn, there is unexplainable energy sustaining me. On Monday night (when I thought the next day must be Friday instead of Tuesday), I realized this abundance of energy and peach is faith. Sometimes faith is overcomplicated. 

This week, I realized it is simply knowing things will work out for the good of those who love God and serve according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). When I find small celebrations, my faith is strengthened...
  • three after school runs with the family
  • perfect weather for watching soccer and football
  • a new introduction is starting to take shape for The Book
I celebrate small so I can live big. 

I can keep listing celebrations because they are tucked throughout my week. Moments pass and I collect treasures because I've learned to find them. I find them because I believe there is good in the rubble of life.

This is why I'm so thankful for you, our community that celebrates together. This way I keep fighting the good fight, allowing my faith to strengthen through celebrations.


Share your celebration!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Press On {CELEBRATE This Week: 154}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****

  

My family and I ran our first 5K race last week. Even though this is what we set out to do, I was surprised (and a  little scared) that we were actually doing it. The night before Andy decided to run with us. 

"I can do a couch to 5K," he said.

"Great!" I said. "If you start running now, you can join us for the Color Run in October."

Andy snickered. "Nah, I'll run with you guys tomorrow. I'm on the couch now and I'll run the 5K tomorrow."

(Perhaps the biggest success of race day was we didn't spend the afternoon in the ER with Andy.)

The kids and I have been running together for months. I like our runs on the backroads that cut through corn fields and wildflowers. I like to press on with them and to find out together that we can do tough things. I like to unplug my earbuds and blare some Ramones -- "Eh Oh, Let's Go!" -- just when we think we might give up.

I like the feeling of finishing an everyday, ordinary run. For me, it is the routine that I like best. I could never run another race and keep running on the ordinary days. It's not the hoopla that keeps me running. It's the moments carved from the day where we claim together time that keep me running. 

Jordan keeps running to be football strong. He turns on his running legs and chugs until it's time to stop. He rarely talks, but always keeps churning his legs. The high school football players sat at turns and crossroads to help racers keep the course. They cheered for Jay and he ran faster. He kept plugging along. We ran the last mile together. The high school boy's soccer team lined the path before the final turn. Jay ran down the line slapping high fives like he was a hero in a big game. His legs quickened and he knew he would make it to the end without stopping.

Hannah runs because she knows it's healthy. She smiled and waved at community members, friends, and family who encouraged her. She kept ahead of me, setting a pace that surprised even herself. 

Stephanie did not want to run. (Stephanie never wants to run.) We told her she could quit, she didn't have to run the race. She crossed her arms, set her jaw, and we knew we'd see her at the finish line. 

Sam took off, faster than the rest of us. Of all of us, he is the one with the runner's build, although he doesn't always have the wherewithal to keep going. "Do your best," Andy told everyone. "Don't wait for anyone. You run your very best race." Sam took off and didn't stop. 

He caught up to Martha. She was walking and he said, "Keep going! You can do it!" Martha and Sam ran the last leg of the race together. She beat him in the sprint to the chute. (We decided since her legs are as long as Sam is tall, she had a bit of an advantage.)

Hannah came in next, then Jordan and me. We all cheered Stephanie in and then Andy came down the final stretch, going strong and almost meeting the goal he sat for himself (while on the couch the night before).

It is very good to do hard things with people you love. Even though we were all out there for our own reasons and we each have our own motivations, the end result was we became closer as a family.

It's not always easy to press on, but when you are surrounded by people who love you and are pressing on too, it gives you resilience.

Running together is making our family more resilient. In a world that is screaming and tugging, resilience is a necessity. It is resilience that will save us.

After the race, we all found one another like magnets. The event volunteers handed out red, white, and blue popsicles and the sweet ice tickled our too hot mouths. 

"I never knew I loved running!" Sam said. "Thanks so much, Mom, for waking me up all those summer mornings. I feel like you gave me a big present I didn't even know I wanted."

Isn't this what happens when we press on? On the other side, we find an unexpected gift.

And usually it is wrapped in resilience.







Saturday, August 13, 2016

We Run {CELEBRATE This Week: 153}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****





Today, Saturday, we are running our first race as a family. Soon, I will wake up our runners. We will eat breakfast an bananas. We will tighten the laces on our shoes. We will check-in at the race registration. Later I will collect the things I'm learning from running as a family. Until then, share your celebrations!


Friday, August 5, 2016

Revision: CELEBRATE This Week {152}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****


Summer ends this week. I scroll through my camera roll to see where it went. I search for a single image to capture this season, an image I can tug with words to see if it will lead me to understand why my favorite season felt a little nonexistent this year.

The memories are here in photos -- a rich summer of laughter and runs and made-from-scratch meals, family and friends and work and play, new adventures and old traditions -- the photos stack in rows, and I know summer existed.

I pause at one of the first pictures of the summer. I am writing, working on revisions, Andy snapped a picture without me knowing it. I looked up and he said, "It's just so you." I smiled; Andy never takes pictures. 

Of all the pictures of summer, this is the one I choose to capture the season. Words don't usually line up the first time. They wander and stir and sometimes dance. In this book I tried to corral the words, but it didn't work. Just like storylines, words don't want to be contained. They want to run free. 

And I let them.

Then I took the parts and chopped them up, moving them, and mashing them together again. I wrote the third section, and I thought it behaved.

It didn't.

I'm in another round of revisions. 
It might not be right when I'm finished. 
I'm moving forward anyway.

This is the season I'm in. It is not behaving; not following the rules. Summer knows it is for lazy days and long books. Summer knows it is for picnics and naps. Summer knows it is for un-schedules and following whims.

Summer changed the rules. Now it's ending and I feel like I'm just catching on to the way this season's storyline is going. I'm in deep revisions, trying to make sense of the way things are running wild and unabashed, while at the same time organize and mash them together into this one little life.

Mostly, I'm learning that I have a limited amount of time, energy, and capacity. This new season of living is demanding. It is highly scheduled. The kids no longer go to bed early. And they need me for much more than a bandaid, a hug, and a sippy cup of milk.

Just like I'm revising my book again, I'm revising the way I live again. I can either wallow and allow the frustration of finding my footing again to cast a dark shadow over this season, or I can choose to celebrate.

It is through revision that the story begins to glimmer. As much as I wish my book were complete and you could hold it in your hands right now, I'm thankful I'm revising. It's not ready, yet. And as much as I wish I didn't drop the ball, as much as I wish I didn't disappoint people, as much as I wish I could get this parenting-gig right, I'm thankful I have a chance to revise and shift the way I live.

This is what I celebrate: Getting to adapt to each season in order to live the best life possible.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and sharing your celebrations.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Keep Celebrating {CELEBRATE This Week: 149}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****




While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day, knowing that we are becoming history with every work, every action, every deed.
--Mattie Stepanek
I'm glad you're here to celebrate!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Family Life {CELEBRATE This Week: 148}

I'm glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****






We've been cooking this week.
1 bushel tomatoes
30 green peppers
20 lbs of onions
30 lbs of ground beef
12 lbs of roast
22 lbs of whole chicken
28 chicken breasts

We made 22 quarts of spaghetti sauce and over 50 meals for the freezer.

It's been a family ordeal.

Usually when I cook like this, I clear the schedule and call in the big guns (my mom). I shop one day and we cook the next...and Sauce Days never overlaps. We stay focused, let the kids help a little and then shoo them out of the kitchen.

I never knew allowing them to help a little would turn into big kids that help a lot.

It's not easy letting little kids help in the kitchen. The messes are inevitable and the efficiency plummets. It's worth it, though.

Today, each of our big kids has specialties.
Sam makes killer lasagnas.
Jay and Steph brown and chop hamburger like nobody's business.
Hannah plows through assemblies.

All of them are willing to help me with the work. This is not a slight thing. 

And they've taught me to be willing to take a break. We went to lunch and the library and swimming. We played board games, jumped on the trampoline, and ran. (We've made it to two miles now!) The girls scraped wallpaper in their bedroom, Sam put together more train tracks, Steph played softball, Hannah read 7 books and Jay conquered a video game. I was there, alongside of them, learning to take a break. This is not a slight thing.

So I celebrate the rhythm of our family life this week. Work and play and play and work all wrapped together each day, making a week that at first didn't seem efficient, but upon reflection, was full of much more than work. 

"I'm really glad we make the meals," one of the kids said. The others agreed.

Hannah said, "This way we get to eat good stuff without being stuck in the kitchen when Marching Band starts." (She giggles, like she always does, at the thought of Marching Band.)

"And football," Jay adds.

"And soccer," Steph says.

"And Boy Scouts and bowling," Sam says.

"And when Martha arrives," I say.

"And homework!" Andy adds.

There is a collective groan. Sam yells, "That's blasphemy, Dad! No talking about school in the middle of summer. You should be more careful!"

We laugh, and suddenly my dirty kitchen doesn't seem so terrible. This is the family life I never knew I wanted, but am so thankful to have.