Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving Day!

So I'm moving! Well, not out of my house (Thank God. The idea of going through every little thing and packing it up makes me dry-heave a bit)... but out of this url.

About a year ago I felt it was time to step out there and start a blog. Not a Mommy-blog full of milestones and updates (which I had), but a me blog... well, not a ME blog. Nobody wants to read about just me. But a God/Homeschooling/SPD'ing/Learning/Loving/Growing Blog.

This last year had me learning a lot about myself and about blogging in general. I've spent a lot of time in the last 6 months pinning and reading and learning and webinar-ing ... and now I put on my big girl panties and I'm going out there. In the big wide bloggy world.

For the next year this will be my job. My no-pay, no-benefits, no-vacation, plenty-of-faith job.

Scary? Yes.

Exciting? Yes.

Am I ready for it? I sure do hope so.

This means getting a big girl blog, and putting the work into it.

So for the next few days, which will most likely turn into weeks, I'll be unpacking and setting up house over at the new website. Once I'm settled in I'll have a housewarming and you'll ALL be invited! Keep an eye out for the big announcement... and follow me over there!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Web Browsers

A mini post. It started as a Facebook Rant but it was a little too long so now it's a post. But not really a REAL post... so it's a mini post:

After an hour (AN HOUR) of trying to figure out how to set up my "My Verizon" account and losing connection with both the "chat help" and a phone rep I get to my third verizon customer service rep of the evening...Third. I was not happy at this point.

Me: "I'm not able to register my account. After I give it my account number and zip code it loops back to the home screen of the verizon web page."

Customer Service: "Hmmm. What web browser are you using?"

Me: "Chrome"

Customer Service: "Ok, you're gonna wanna use Explorer to navigate the Verizon webpage. Are you using Explorer?"

Me: ಠ_ಠ  -deep breath- "Yes, I pay an exorbitant amount of money that you will not budge a penny in my favor for your FIOS service that you advertise hits speeds of 500 Mbps to use.... Internet Explorer."

No I didn't really say that. I screamed it in my head.

What I really said is "Hold on. I have Firefox."

First world problems.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I love Snow Days. I spent the first 11 years of my life in a place that never, ever, ever had snow days. Nope. In fact we had ONE day that they closed school for...wait for it... excessive heat!

We moved to Upstate New York in the summer of 1992. The winter season to come would be the largest amount of snowfall that the year had seen in decades. The winter of '93. My first snow day turned into a snow WEEK! The apartment complex snow plows had made mounds as tall as our townhouse! We would climb up with our sleds and then go down off of our ROOFS! It was like nothing I had ever seen before or since.

After I finished high school I went right back into the school system as an ASL interpreter for Oswego County BOCES. Snow Day Bonanza! From November to March at 5 am I would turn on the news and see if I had to work that day.

Even when I left BOCES to do a "real job" I still watched the crawler across the bottom of the screen every morning. In between cups of coffee and blow drying my hair I'd yell to my husband "Oh, East Syracuse is closed!......There goes Liverpool!......North Syracuse is still just a 2 hour, wait! Nope. Closed!"

Still, to this day, I check the list on my phone.... borderline obsessively.... when it snows. But it doesn't stop my plans or change my life that day as a stay at home, homeschooling Momma. We play in it but we still school on. But there's an electric excitement in my day knowing... it's a snow day

This is an accurate illustration of my 30-something self 
when we have a snow day in our district.

Yesterday was our first official "Snow Day" of Kindergarten. I saw it coming on Saturday and I knew I needed to get in on this one, it might be our last of the season. We set up some tentative plans and shared the excitement with the child as it was all hinging on one precious thing... a snow day. The hushed excitement of the words "snow day" as they came out of her mouth let me know she understood.

That snow days were magical and wonderful and rarely seen... like a unicorn.

I woke up at 6:30 am and checked the list. Snow. Day. Baby!

We dropped our school plans and played with public school friends as they celebrated their day off from school. It was a beautiful, chaotic, fantastic, mess.... exactly what childhood needs every once in a while.

This is what we learned on our day off:

1- Uno's has free lunches for kids on snow days.

2- 10 hours of playing = 12+ hours of sleep that night

3- Friends are wonderful and fun and amazing and we love every moment with them... but Daddy is her favorite to person on the planet to play with.

4- I'm so blessed to be a stay at home, homeschooling mother of one amazingly awesome little girl.

I mean, really. I am. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.

As much as I love it and would trade it for nothing in this world, do I see the laundry and the dishes and cleaning and the cooking and the curriculum and the teaching and the reading, writing, mathing.....the repetitive nature of my day-to-day glamourous in any sense of the word? No. Not at all.

No, in fact last week I got all dolled up for Wednesday morning only to not shower/change/perform-any-personal-hygiene-beyond-brushing-teeth-and-hair again until Friday.... afternoon. Yeah, that's hot. My husband is one lucky man.

But I have this window. This teeny tiny, no redos or take backs, window to do THIS. And once it's gone it's gone. I can't get it back. There's no redeeming motherhood.

If we don't stop and see the glory in the, if not moments, the seasons then we're missing His plan, His lessons for our lives.

My season is Motherhood. Yes, motherhood is forever and I don't think I'll ever sleep as soundly or relax so completely as I did before my child walked the Earth... but This season is for Motherhood. Capital "M".

This Motherhood season is for building a person. For instilling truths and confidence in who they are as a creation of God. For learning how they're wired and exploring the beauty of their own individuality in a world that desires to put everything and everyone in a tidy box along with the facts and numbers that define them. To show them the world and the beauty in it and the Creator who made it all, just for them and give a soft place to be as they learn how sharp the world can be. To read the the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan and Gerald and Piggie until my throat is sore. To snuggle and play and enjoy the too short season of childhood.

I say this without an ounce of martyrdom.

Because one day in 15, 10, 5 years things will change as they have changed from the last 5 years. I am no longer lost in the complete need of one tiny person. As she craves space, I recieve space.  My dreams that have been tucked into my heart are being unpacked and considered little by little until I find my next season.

Spending time with others have gotten there, their season of finding dreams, the childish mentality of "why not me?" creeps up... and in that moment. Before I fall fully into the spiral of disappointment. I stop and look to God and say "Why not me? Why have I not found what you have created me for? Why have I not found the one thing that makes my soul sing? Why has this sense of unfulfillment been the thorn in my side? Why have I never, ever been able to answer the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'"

And as still and as loud as anything I have ever heard He says to me.... for THIS season. I need you HERE in THIS spot for THIS season.

To be a port in the storm.

To give structure and flexibility in one motion.

To make this space a place to restore spirits.

So here I am, knowing that this is short, what's next is big and beautiful, and that truly there is glory in the day-to-day if I do what I am called to do.

And that in its own way THAT is glamourous.

THAT is magical and wonderful and rarely seen... like a unicorn. Or a Snow Day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

That one I couldn't come up with a title for...

11 years ago this little movie came out. I'm sure you've never heard of it. "Mean Girls"? Oh, you have? Well I haven't. It may have come on my radar, but blipped off just as fast as it blipped on. I mean, 11 years ago, I was fresh out of teenager-hood. I was 21 and convinced, as a married woman with a mortgage and two completed car loans between my husband and I, I was fully grown up and shunned anything that teenagers even remotely showed an interest in. (But, unlike today, I was keenly aware what was "in"... Where on Earth did Arrianna Grande come from... and did I even spell that right?!)

I wasn't interested in the music and laughed at the stupidity of "Don't 'Cha" by "The Pussycat Dolls". Really? I'm supposed to take this seriously. Pussy. Cat. Dolls? Yeah, no.

I did not get this complete obsession over this book, "Twilight". I mean, sparkly vampires? No. Nope. I mean, this vampire, spends all his time mooning over this mopey girl for why? I just didn't get it. (and still don't. I mean, I know and love many people who are borderline obsessed... I'm. just. not.... but I still love you!)

I wasn't one for high school comedies. I had seen "American Pie" and I've had enough of that. Thank you very much. Ewww.

Then time went on, cable was (is) crazy expensive and Netflix became a viable option for our day-to-day entertainment... then God said let there be streaming.

I found the awesomeness of "30 Rock" and Tina Fey. (and soon after "Parks and Rec" and Amy Poehler) I devoured her show and then her biography (Amy, too). I realized, slowly that I loved them. I loved their power. I loved their confidence. I loved that they played the "boys game" of humor and won. Girls could be funny, I mean REALLY funny. I loved that they could be funny without the trap of exclusively being gross about sex,  like so many female comediennes fall into.

Side note: Sex isn't funny. Sex is awesome, with a bit of hilarity sprinkled in because it's also kinda embarrassing and gross... but really, really it's awesome. Really awesome.... with the.... and the..... yeaaaaahhhh.....

Wait, what I was saying?..... Oh yeah, "Mean Girls". Tina Fey wrote and had a fairly big role (bigger than I expected) in this movie. Lo and behold, this month it's on Netflix. Streaming.

Have you seen this movie? No. Ok, go on Netflix and come back. I'll see you in 97 minutes, 92-ish if you don't watch the end credits. No, really go watch it because there's gonna be some new things that enter my vocabulary that you're gonna want some point of reference on.  Such as:


Ok I'm gonna stop so you can watch it.

 Watch it now. Go.

So, what did you think? I know, right?!

Me too!

Yep, I'm 15 years out of High School and I completely relate to everything T-Dawg (That's what Tina Fey wants her friends to call her. What-eves. She's so obsessed with me.) wrote in this movie. But one part. One statement stopped me cold:

Cady: "The weird thing about hanging out with Regina was that I could hate her, and at the same time, I still wanted her to like me."

What the what?

Does she live in my head? Because sometimes, when I look at a situation that really stresses me out I can call it what it is: this out of balance mentality of making sure the "right" people like me.

People that have hurt me. That have caused me tears.

People that scare me. That make me doubt myself and who I am.

People who intimidate me. That are smarter, thinner, prettier, God-li-er... better... than me.

People who have left me behind. That were once oh-so-close and now rarely look me in the eye.

.... and I want them to like me. A LOT.

I want their affirmation and accolades and friendships... because I'm a little sick in the head a people pleaser.

But it needs to stop... and in the last year or so I've really worked on the concept that I need to LOVE everyone but I don't necessarily need to LIKE everyone.... and if I'm going to be the real me that God made me and make the right decisions for me and my family, not everyone is gonna like ME.... and that's OK. I mean, it's gonna be uncomfortable maybe... but it's OK.

Because part of leaving High School, growing up, is leaving behind the "frenemies". I have no time for that. I've got a Husband, a Child, a House. Homeschooling, housekeeping, serving, banking, cooking, cleaning, crafting, studying, therapy-ing, LIVING takes up all my time. Should I spend a moment of my extra time obsessing about what random people think of me?

And when I say random I mean RANDOM.

Now before any of of my real people friends wonder "Is Jess talking about me? Does she truly hate me?" No. Listen to me.... NO. Because if you're a real people friend I want you in my life. I want to spend time with you and I choose to spend time with you, because I love you. It's not a perfect world and it's not as often as I would like.... but I love you. Is that clear? LOOOOOOVE!

I'm just sayin' that moment, the realization put out into words, of "Why am I fighting for this one person's affirmation when I don't even really LIKE them?" is huge. 

I mean, truly, only one person's opinion EVER matters....

And He sees me, not at my good-hair-day, full-make up best. 

But at my worst. 

My ugliest.

My bed head and morning breath

At my angriest, at my most bitter, at my most jealous and full of resentment. 

That He holds me through my cycles of depression and rage. 

That He sits next to me as I sin over and over and over again.... and He holds my red tear-stained face in His nail pierced hands and says 'You're worth it. The suffering and loneliness and pain that I went through. I'd do it all over again for you. Just for you.'

This truth is so big and so real I'll just leave you with this perfect illustration of me writing this post:

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Year

Now that the glitter has rubbed off of the new year we see the grey plastic mold underneath showing where it's been worn most. The sparkles of what we promised ourselves and others are all over the floor and crushed into the carpet. A reminder of where we fell short every time we catch the shine when the sun hits just right.

We were meant to be a new person by now. A better person than we were 20 days ago.

Eating better.

Organizing better.

Cleaning better.

Teaching better.

Mothering better.

Wife-ing better.

Praying better.

Learning better.

Following better.

Stewarding better.

Discipling better.

Loving better.

But here we are. The same person we've been all along. Because re-wiring a human takes a lot of work.... and that's OK.

So we adopt words, phrases, verses to get us through. To help keep us on track. I've come across many that my friends have shared and I love learning a little more about them as they put ownership on what they need most this year. 

When I truly look at all that needs to change in my little bubble, all I need to improve on, it's an enormous task. And here, my friends, here is where I found my resolution. My phrase. My ownership.

That's right, eating elephants.

The funny part about all this is that the word "elephants" is my default noun. Anytime I need to buy myself a few minutes with my child I throw out "elephants".

"Mommy, what are we having for dinner?"
Elephant burritos.

"Where are we going?"
To see the elephants.

"Can we go swim today?"
No, too many elephants in the pool.

"Are we there yet?"
There's elephants in the road slowing down traffic.

(It doesn't work as well now that she's older. Instead of a moment of confused silence I get "Moo-oooooo-ooooom!")


I know I've heard this phrase before and shrugged it off as a bad joke. But when you sit on it. Think of the reality of it there's so much truth there. When an insurmountable task is ahead of you it can feel like an elephant. And if you really needed to eat one the only way to get it done? One bite at a time.

When it comes to :

Eating better.

Organizing better.

Cleaning better.

Teaching better.

Mothering better.

Wife-ing better.

Praying better.

Learning better.

Following better.

Stewarding better.

Discipling better.

Loving better.

I can only do bite at a time.