Here’s why I cried when my daughter read to me.

My daughter is 10.  She has friends that love her, she’s talented in so many amazing ways.  She can sing like I have always dreamed of, she can sew things I can’t imagine, she is artistic and emotional and so much better than me in almost every way.  A lot of these gifts are a gift of dyslexia.  Dyslexia has given her the gift of art, of seeing the whole picture before it’s completed, of empathy, compassion and an amazing heart.

As you might imagine, despite all of her incredible gifts, she struggles with reading.  HARD.  She’s so intuitive and creative that she understands things that most ten year olds shouldn’t.  Unrelated to her dyslexia she is just an old soul.  A few years ago, when I was making sure she knew how special she was, we were in the car and she said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Me- “Rylee, you have artistic intelligence that some people dream of. You have a beautiful voice, you are great at math.”

Rylee (holding back tears, because she is also “too strong” to cry”)-” Mom, singing isn’t going to help me check out in the grocery store”

Damn. She’s right, but she shouldn’t know that yet.

We’ve been homeschooling three years and I can’t say that I have a beautiful thought out mission statement other than “Teach my kids to read and that they are valued no matter what” because once they have that, they just need to be taught how to learn. I’ll admit it, I have no idea what she goes through because I read at 5, but we have fought for it for three years.  But I do know what I have seen over the years.

Tears

Her being embaressed in front of friends

More tears

Heartbreak

Tears of frustration

A lot of “I’ll never be able to read”

Hysterical tears

“I’m not like you mom, I can’t just read”

Mom’s shattering heart

Then last night, my girl couldn’t sleep.  I offered what I have 7000 times before in her life. ” Would you like to read me a book? Sometimes that helps me get sleepy.”  Her words, “Well, I might as well have a good attitude about it, because that really makes things easier.” And she did. She walked downstairs and got her chapter book ( Nory Ryan’s Song) and read 3 whole pages.  I held it together while we sat and she read, but after I kissed my baby goodnight, I cried happy tears.  Hearing her read will never get old.  Ever.

 

 

 

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To my oldest boy

Boy, you are something.  You made me a mom. You have taught me how to love fiercely and unconditionally, stretched my patience to the end of the earth, made messes bigger than I thought possible, made me giggle with delight, my blood boil with anger, my heart ache for one more snuggle.

And now I look it you.  The lines on your face are becoming strong. You are taller than me. You would prefer to hang out with the adults and don’t like being put in the “kid” category.  How did you get to be (nearly) 13 already?  I remember the day I brought you home.  You were wrapped in a bright yellow fleece snowsuit equivalent ducky onsie.  It was absurdly cold for April.   I was scared of you, but so in love. And now, here I am again about to take on a new adventure with you as a teenager.  My boy, my lovely sweet boy, take these thoughts from your Mama with you as you get older and grow into a man.

  1. Hold on to you. Life is a journey.  So many people are going to try to change you.  Always. You are never going to be good enough for everyone.  You are always going to have haters.  Live a genuine, honest life doing what you love, with people you love and don’t worry about the rest of the world.
  2. Don’t get to big for your britches.  You are beautiful and talented, funny and strong, sensitive and kind.  Those are all good things.  There’s a lot about you that people should and will admire. Stay humble, and always remember your roots and look for the good in everyone.  Everyone has good in them.
  3. Be a man.  I don’t mean this in the herculean, save the world, superman mentality. But be respectful, chivalrous, walk with integrity, admit your mistakes.  That is something you’ll be proud of.
  4. Pursue your dreams. Love, I don’t care if you are a dog walker, a gas station attendant, a doctor or the president.  Find something that defines you, that sets your soul on fire, that makes life worth living–and do that. Dreams won’t come to you because you wish on them.  Theres no magic trick to living what you have always dreamed of but hard work and goal setting can make anything happen.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh at your mistakes. There are going to be a lot of them.  You’ll probably lose more than you win. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them.
  6. Friends are the family you choose. You will always have us-we are family.  Friends are important too.  Choose people that reciprocate your love, intent, and attempts to get together. Don’t waste your time on friends that don’t make you feel good.
  7. No one will ever love you like your mother does.  When you cry, I cry. When you smile, I smile. I would fight for you, no matter the cost.  When you go out in your journey’s for love–find someone who loves you with that same intensity.  That person won’t be perfect, but when you find that person, you’ll know.

As I am writing this, our song comes to mind.  I am note sure you remember it but “I Hope You Dance” is the perfect song for you, my boy.   Dance your heart out, stay humble, and live life to the fullest.

 

A Word a Week-Refine

There are so many thoughts that come to mind when I think about refine. There are things we refine, there are processes we refine, there are attitudes, homes, and paperwork we refine.  We refine sugar, and oil to get rid of impurities, to rid the product from harmful substances.  By definition, the word “refine” means:  to remove impurities or unwanted substances, or to improve by a series of small steps and processes.

I wonder what it will look like when we take steps to refine our lives? What would this even mean? I think a lot of times the American perspective on resolutions is skewed. We set goals for a “new” me, “new” life, “new” home etc. instead of just taking the time to fix what we already have.  Mid century America was good at refining. Us–not so much.  I think we are headed in the right direction, but we need work.

For us as a family we are going to refine our life this year in the following ways:

  • Our Money. We need to plan better, set goals and tell our money where to go. Money can control you, but it needs to control you in a good way, for a better life. Dave Ramsey is a great guide.  You should read it.
  • Our Homeschooling.  We have the most AMAZING group of people in our homeschooling bubble.  Seriously, they make me grateful for our life everyday.  There are so many outstanding people with remarkable talents and so many things to offer our kids, and it is so tempting to do everything.  And then you become busy, and busy isn’t a life.
  • Our Food.  When you are busy, you eat what you can find. You eat take out. Cereal becomes a good dinner alternative. We are going to take efforts to change our food.  To eat whole foods, to eat planned, intentional meals.
  • Our Family Time.  Jordan and I are ambitious.  We work hard, we work diligently.  We are going to be more intentional about our family time to refine it, to make it more meaningful.

Refining things doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t good. I like what we have. I love our life, but there is always, always room for improvement.  When you stop growing, you stop living.

Living off the Grid

I have thought often about living off the grid.  This seems extreme and very beautiful at the same time.  It’s more of a fantasy for us, as we make our living through internet and technology.  We do have a few goals this year in relation to this.  I want to teach my kids the importance of taking care of our earth.  We do volunteer park clean ups and participate in Nature clubs through our homeschool group, but our impact needs to be reduced.  We have joked about locations where we would go in the “apocalypse”and spend a lot of time outdoors.

As a culture I think we are headed towards a generation where we use less, create more. What do you think of this video and this lifestyle?

A Word a Week- Purpose

Purpose- 

I feel like as humans we are pre-disposed to want a life of purpose. We want our lives to mean something, to leave a legacy, to make a mark.  Last year I was able to quit a job that I hated and truly commit to what I love–travel planning and homeschooling my loves.  My purpose began to surface as I made new friends, built an incredible village and connected on a deeper level with my children and my husband.

Something happens in your soul when you are released from the monotony of the 9-5 job and you have the ability to work for yourself and teach your children what you think they need to know to be purposeful and live a meaningful life. Last year, I found my strength, revalidated my purpose, prioritized my goals and created new ones.

Work is meaningful.  What you do, and how you spend your days -is meaningful.  Some people find their meaning outside of work through extra activities, fun family events and vacations and that is perfect too.

What are you going to do this year to find and execute your purpose?  What have you done already?

Stay tuned for next weeks post in our Word a Week series for 2018.

Car theft and lessons learned

A few days before Christmas we woke up to find that someone had taken my van from my driveway, as a Christmas present to themselves. I spent the first 30 minutes staring at the wall, in disbelief. Seriously? My HOA bubble was burst.  I grew up in an inner city, so I know that these things do happen, but REALLY?  We went through the motions after I could comprehend enough to take care of what I needed to and got the car back late last night.  Children had stolen my car. They had done it before, have been a nuisance to the cops.

I picked up my car from the sketchiest towing company I have ever been to.  Perhaps suburbia is just rubbing off on me. It was all just very uncomfortable.  My van is in decent condition.  The items that were in there that I was worried about have been returned with the exception of Noah’s new chucks and my coveted blue yeti cup.   They did leave cigarette butts, the inside of a cigar, trash, and a box of chips ahoy! At least I know what snacks they like when I visit them in prison.

I cried yesterday. For the first time since my car was stolen and it was a messy, blubbery, crying mess. It was a real ugly cry, but this morning I feel like I have learned a lot.

5 things I learned from having my car stolen:

  1. Strength is harbored until you need it. Even though I am a homeschool mom, a blogger and a dual business owner I underestimated my ability to manage chaos and mayhem. I really was able to tackle and manage this problem.
  2. Good friends are like gold.  From a text message of remorse, a bottle of wine on my table without me requesting, neighbors offering their car, daily check ups to see what I need, and being there to help me laugh through it-you find out who your friends are and my friends are better than gold.
  3. You cannot mess with my kids.  My (almost brand new) car was stolen from my driveway and that made me mad.  What made me loose sleep, and want vengeance was the fact that my children’s stuff was in there. Some items that were irreplaceable, and they didn’t care.  When I found out my car was found, I just wanted my kids stuff to be in there.  Thankfully, most of it was.
  4. I have a heart for kids that need it. These kids are broken.  They are lost.  They need someone, something that will help them be better. They act this way because they are allowed to.  If they go to jail, I am probably going to visit them (law abiding) and love them through this.
  5. Knowledge is Power. I have never been in a situation where I have been scared to open my door, worried about doors being locked and worried about leaving my home with no one there.  I am now.  I am looking over my own shoulders in my own home.  I’ve been kicked out of my suburbia bubble.  It can happen anywhere.

I know how blessed I am. They took my car. A replaceable item that I did get back.  It’s filthy and I feel violated.  They took my stuff, my hard work, my blood, sweat and tears. They took the first new car I had ever owned and went joy riding.  I am not sure I have ever been more angry, grateful, and empowered to help change these kids all at one time.