Category Archives: my family

Starting the week well.


Yesterday my girls and I had our first “No Screen/No Headphone” Sunday. I’m happy to report we all survived 🙂 Admittedly, we had to check ourselves a few times just because we are so used to migrating to the computer chair (me) or migrating to ipod/ipad and headphones (my girls).

So…instead of starting my day on the computer…I started it on my porch reviewing the sermon I was going to give yesterday. (Which went well for a first go round I think 🙂

Instead of coming home and watching any tv after church we all took a long, restful nap. Nothing like a Sunday afternoon nap to make you feel like all is right with the world.

Instead of getting up and going to our separate areas and not being able to hear each other we all found a book we wanted to read and sat around in the same room together reading. It was like the good old days I’m telling yah :).

We even eventually played a card game together and then headed to the park. Imagine that…we spent some time outdoors together! We had some loaves of bread to get rid of so we thought we would feed the fish. The only problem is that the pond we chose only had tiny fish and not many at that…so we left them a meal that will probably last them a week! But we had great fun in the process. We took time to just sit on the bench by the pond and watch the people fishing and playing at the park until it got dark.

Then we ended the day with a trip to DQ. It was necessary since our local DQ has been remodeled this summer and we had yet to check it out. It was way past time.

We then came home and read some more…I admit it, my girls were hoping I would cave by that point in the day and let them listen to their music on headphones…but I held steady and we made it through the day. Whew!

This is what I noticed.

Without screens.

We rested well…

We read books that were good food for our minds (Lydia picked up the Five love language book yesterday and is currently trying to figure out what each of our love languages is. I read through 3 books on making soap and am thinking I’m going to give it a go…soon. And Lauren read her book from the library just for fun.)

We spent time together.

We played together.

We had plenty of conversation…talked until after 11pm!

We focused on each other instead of diverting to Facebook. And…we didn’t seek outside validation for our day.

For a day experiment it was worth it. In fact, I think next Sunday we might give it another go. I’m sure my girls will be thrilled.

And now getting ready to head out for yoga. Love my Monday mornings on sabbatical.

Actually…I love every day in my life right now. Good news…I picked up a new piano student yesterday. That’s always encouraging.




Yesterday we had such a delightful surprise in our home. It really was quite small and didn’t cost a penny, but delightful nonetheless.

We had a couple from our church who had just purchased ice cream down the street from our house decide that instead of just sitting in a parking lot eating their ice cream…they would come down and see what we were up to, just drop in and say hi.

We ended up visiting for at least an hour around our sunroom table and it was honestly quite a God moment in my family’s life. They had no way of knowing that but I recognized it and so did my kids.

My girls had been kind of struggling this week in various ways with feeling like they don’t belong. That might be a homeschooling issue…but honestly, I think it’s more a high school/teenager issue. They are really good listeners but often in a group don’t actually talk. They’re content to listen to other people have conversation, except that then once it’s done they feel like they were on the edges the whole time…because, they were, and it’s not very satisfying.

None of this is unusual, I remember feeling the same way at their age. Not wanting the pressure to have to come up with something of interest to say and yet wanting to be seen as an interesting person to be with. It’s a common feeling for many people.

So…when this couple just stopped in and we sat down and visited it was a really lovely thing to have conversation together that was unscripted, unplanned, and just see where the conversation would lead. It started out with me doing a lot of the talking from my family, but over the visit, the girls started to warm up and share some of their story, what’s been going on in their lives lately. It was kind of like watching a flower bloom all within the space of an hour or two.

This couple had no way of knowing that was going on…they just decided it was worth the effort and far more interesting to go say hi to someone they know rather than just sitting by themselves in a parking lot or a car.

Such a small thing. I often read how we’re losing face to face contact with each other because of social media, email, etc. Sometimes I discount the issue, as in, well at least I’m staying in touch with people over distance that I normally wouldn’t have any contact with. But…last night I realized that face to face contact is so, so important. It’s not the same as a quick status post and a clicked like.

We got to know so much more about this couple as we sat at the table, we talked about their high school experiences, vacations we’ve taken, house remodeling projects, youth group experiences, teeth, church, parenting, future hopes, etc. Lauren showed the fashions that she’s been putting together on Polyvore, a computer program that she likes to use. My girls and I felt like we mattered and that this couple would want to get to know us and would want us to know them better. Isn’t that a big part of what love is? Knowing and being known…I think so.

Later, I realized that Lydia could’ve spent the night with friends at the local high school football game and I apologized for not being aware of it. She said…”But mom, then I would’ve missed out on the visit from the couple that stopped in to see us.” The visit that was just meant to say hello meant that much to her that she would’ve rather been there for it than go with friends to a football game.

My conclusion is this. We have no idea the power that we hold in loving one another well. We have no idea what happens when we just drop in on people, or make some small effort to get to know them better. I know this couple had no idea that it would be a big deal to us…but it was. Most of us are fairly lonely people. The idea of hospitality has gotten thrown out the window. Most of us don’t go to each other’s houses much these days. And I could’ve freaked out because my house wasn’t really neat and clean when they came. But I didn’t even care. It was just so good to visit with people.

Most of us struggle feeling like we belong. Or that anybody notices us or cares about our life. We have this strange mix of wanting to keep to ourselves and protect ourselves and at the same time we really want somebody to care enough to ask or express concern. We want somebody to take notice of us. We’ve become so used to not being known that it’s rare when we feel known, even with people who we are around on a weekly basis for years. How well do you know people at your church? Really…

Our church has been focused this summer on forming deeper community. I’m preaching on it tomorrow. I have to say, I think the message is more relevant than ever. I don’t think it’s just teenage girls who struggle feeling connected and noticed…I think regardless of age, many of us in a group still feel lonely.

I told the girls after our visitors left…we need to do more of that kind of thing, just popping in on people, taking the risk to say hello and just seeing what might happen. We need to share not only the gospel…but our lives.

Yesterday it was ice cream and a visit in our sunroom at the table. Nothing special and yet very sacred.

The first week…


Today marks my first official week of sabbatical.

For the record, I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve worked on my house in big ways in the past week. Worked in the yard, felt sweat dripping down my face. I’m just crazy enough to enjoy that kind of thing. I’ve baked cookies and banana bread. I’ve run errands and thought of new ideas. I’ve made more DIY stuff at home… so far laundry detergent, homemade dish soap, hand soap (liquid style), and toothpaste. I have recipes to try ketchup and mustard and when my supplies are actually looking low I’ll give it a try 🙂 I’ve purchased books on how to make bar soap, a variety of it, anticipating that I would enjoy the process and also be able to make a supply this winter to sell at our local Farmer’s market next summer. I’ve cut back plants outside and right now have a huge bucket full of pieces off of my ivy plant which I hope will take root. I think I will be able to replant them in small pots and again sell them at my local Farmer’s market next summer if all goes well. If it doesn’t work, I haven’t lost a penny. I was going to trim them back anyway.

I’ve redirected my girls this week. So yesterday my youngest participated in my monthly bill writing and is now acutely aware of my budget and how much cash should be spent each week so that we don’t go over. She’s aware of my emergency fund and of what is in  savings. I had no clue of any of that when I was growing up, but she expressed an interest in learning how to budget and I couldn’t think of any reason for her not to, so she is. She actually gets excited when bills arrive in the mail box…crazy girl :).

I’ve signed up my girls for art class this fall down at our local art studio. So both will be taking knitting in September. (I’m secretly hoping they can teach me too 🙂 Lydia will take drawing in October. She really showed some talent in her general middle school art class so I am looking forward to seeing her develop in that area. Lauren is taking collage which will be right up her creative alley. Then in Nov/Dec. Lauren is taking intermediate pottery…I hope she loves it, I think she will. Lydia is taking a photography class. She’s hoping to learn how to use all of the buttons on the camera beyond the auto one 🙂

This week I will be purchasing a paper for Lauren to start clipping coupons, and an organizer. She wants to be more in on the grocery shopping/saving side of things and if she’s willing to give it a go, I’m in full support. She’s also cutting out her first pattern today in the process of learning to sew. Lydia is making her first recipe tonight, she’s going to make something every Tuesday and Thursday and already has recipes lined up for the next six weeks 🙂

All of this is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t be happening if I was working full time right now. There are only so many hours in a day and teaching is exhausting work.

We even got to throw in a field trip to the Botanical gardens this week which was good for my soul.

I’m preparing to preach this Sunday, and I feel like I’ve actually had adequate time to prepare.

I’ve been able to help others this week. I even started yoga on Mondays.

When I sit down and think through all that has happened in this past week I’m amazed. Just a week ago my oldest had just gotten her drivers license and I was nervous about the whole thing. In one weeks time I’m amazed at how much less nervous I feel. She’s driven several times now for small errands and has even driven completely on her own. She’s doing just fine 🙂

My continued theme for this time in my life is pure gratitude.  I’m finding that it’s an incredibly good place to be.

Not everything is perfect. I haven’t started nearly as many students as I would like in my private voice and piano business this fall, but I’m hoping and trusting that will grow as time goes on.

My girls have had to work through some interesting emotions this week with public school starting and learning how to be homeschooled and still have some friendships which has led to some interesting conversations. I know God will help us to work those things out. We just need to initiate relationships in a different way than we used to.

Overall…life is incredibly good. Today is Thursday and it’s going to be a lovely day. No countdowns, no dread, no wishing for other days…this day is good in itself.

On to week two…I hope to power wash my house, paint my bath tub and probably the walls in my bathroom this next week. And who knows what else might come across my path 🙂 I’m open.