How Do You Do It All?

Someone asked me recently, “How do you do it all?”

My answer? “I don’t.”

I am busy. This is true. I have four kids ranging from 11 to 20 and that means a lot of driving and juggling schedules, etc.

I am a full-time Realtor and I am an author in the midst of launching my second book. Yes, there’s a lot going on in my life. But I think that when people see success in one area of your life they assume you must be successful in all areas.

Those people have not been to my house. I have a lovely house and if someone would come over here on a regular basis and de-clutter and clean it for me, it would look wonderful.

But the reality is that something’s got to give and for as long as I can remember right now, that’s the house.

Now I know some would say, “Your children should be helping you keep your house clean.” (Insert laughing/crying face here) Yes, I agree. So if someone wants to come over here and figure out how to make that happen on a regular basis, be my guest.

I know what my kids should be doing. (They also know what they should be doing.) I know what I should be doing. But, it’s just not happening right now. (You may wonder about my husband…well he’s awesome and he irons his clothes and he does mounds of laundry—very kindly folding the laundry into random piles on the dining room table—and he will do the shopping, he’ll cook dinner, he’ll wash the dishes. All those things. As I said, he’s awesome.) But the problem is that we’ve had a ton of change in our family over the last couple years and we just haven’t figured out how to make it all work. We haven’t nailed the adjustment yet.

So we are moving at the speed of light and we are reacting to life instead of being proactive. And at some point, Bill and I are going to slow down long enough to discuss it and make a plan. But until then, the laundry will still be sitting on the dining room table and the dishes will be in the sink and my younger boys will make themselves ramen noodles for lunch because there’s nothing in the fridge.

Is this ideal? No. Is it easy to ignore. No. But sometimes you just have to admit you can’t do it all and live in the mess.

I know I’m not alone. How do I know that? Because I posted the following picture on Facebook the other day …

 

My kitchen. Right now. ‪#‎reallife‬
My kitchen. Right now. ‪#‎reallife‬

 

… and I received a lot of “Me too!”s and other such commiseration. That’s so comforting. But my favorite comment came after about 15-20 people who were “right there with me.” One lovely young friend simply said, “Pretty dish, I love it.”

How adorable. Everyone else, including me, focused on the mess. She found the beauty.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do during this topsy-turvy time of life. I’m going to look for the beauty amidst the chaos.

I hope you can find a pretty plate amongst your mess today, too.

~rebekah 🙂

 

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My Ten Year Old…the Quilter?

 

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Had a conversation with Ten yesterday that went something like this:

Ten: “Mom, I’m bored out of my mind.”

Me: “Well, boredom isn’t necessarily bad, buddy. It helps you learn to be more creative. Makes you find something interesting to do.”

Ten: “Mom.” He gives me the look—you know, chin down, looking up at me with furrowed brows. “I’ve literally googled what to do when you’re bored. Literally.” He pauses for dramatic effect. Then, in a completely serious, exasperated voice “…and it’s QUILTING!”

I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help myself.

It had been such a serious moment for him. Tears pushing on his lower lids. Talking about how he hates being the youngest because everyone is too busy to do anything with him. And then—quilting.

He smiled in spite of himself, dimples flashing. I could just picture him sitting at the computer, awaiting the results of his query. Maybe Google would have the answer to his all-important question.

And up pops a picture of ten women in a quilting circle.

So, while it was a funny moment, it did have me thinking about what I can do to help him. It’s got to be hard on him after having me home for most of his life and now I’m working and not as available. He’s right. Everyone else is so busy and he’s not. He’s taught himself to draw and he does his homework and his chores. He practices his drumming and reads his book. And then he’s got about…oh…hours still to fill.

I mean, we have sporting activities, and other things going on some nights. But after school I can see why he’s bored out of his mind.

So I’m just kind of curious, dear readers; What do your kids do to occupy themselves? Obviously there are times that we can do things with them but they really do need to learn to entertain themselves. How do you manage that?

I’ve got a few ideas I’m going to try. We are going to work on taking his bedroom from kid-like to middle-school like. That’s long overdue. I’m willing to bet he still has Dora the Explorer dominoes in there. And probably a copy of Cat in the Hat. So that will help. And since he likes to draw, I’ll stock his art supplies. But I still need ideas of things that ten year olds enjoy doing.

So, save my son from the quilting circle. Give me some ideas. Ready, set, go!

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Just Airing My Clean Laundry

[originally posted this in May 2014. Someone mentioned it to me this week and it made me laugh when I looked back at it. Hope you enjoy the pics at the end ;)]

(Alternate Title: Stop Comparing your Behind-the-Scenes with everyone else’s Highlight Reel!)

So, I’ve been collecting pictures for months for this particular blog post. Some time around Christmas, a friend told me she wasn’t going on Facebook anymore because seeing everyone else’s perfect kids and perfect husbands and Pinterest-worthy one-year-old birthday parties and Hawaiian vacations, etc., etc., was making her feel bad about her life.

I thought, but you know that’s just people’s highlight reel, right? It’s not their every day. It’s where they post the things they are happy about, excited for…you know…the highlights.

 

Then, I remembered when I posted some family pictures (I actually don’t post many pictures of my kids. Not because I’m against it or anything. No, I just forget to take them). So we hired an incredible photographer (shameless plug here for Sj Bridgeman) to take some family photos and I shared some of them on Facebook…mostly so extended family could have access to them. (Because you know, I’m probably never going to actually get around to having prints made. Yeah, it’s been on my ToDo list for six months.) And also, cuz it’s probably the only time I’ve ever looked half decent in my photos.

 

When I posted this pic…

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… a sweet young friend commented that she hopes she and her baby girl have a relationship like me and my daughter. I remember looking at that comment and actually laughing out loud. Not because it’s not a sweet sentiment. It is. And not because I don’t want her and her little one to have a great relationship. I do. But because the assumption appeared to be, because we look happy in the photo, that we have a great relationship.

Um…I can say now, that we really do, but that’s very recent. After nineteen years, we are finally starting to get each other. But at the time, we were really struggling to like each other. And being her mom has always been hard … because she’s amazingly smart and strong-willed.

At this moment, I couldn’t be more proud of the young lady she’s become. As a matter of fact, yesterday was probably one of my favorite days ever, with her. I think she’s pretty brilliant. But she will tell you, there were times we didn’t know if she would make it out of childhood alive! (Settle down…it’s hyperbole. I wouldn’t actually have killed her. On purpose.)

Anywho … it struck me then, as it did again when my friend went on her Facebook fast, that so many people are comparing other people’s Highlight-Reel with their own Behind-the-Scenes.

Friends, that doesn’t work. Stop doing it.

It’s unhealthy for you and for those around you. You’ve probably heard it said, “Comparison is the death of contentment.” That’s true. And that’s when you’re comparing apples to apples. But this comparing your life to what you see online? That’s not even apples to oranges. It’s like apples to orangutangs monkeys. (That word just looked strange.)

Most people don’t post the bad stuff on Facebook. Cuz that would just be weird:

“Here’s the picture of Tommy writhing on the floor after his brother kicked him in the balls.”

“Oh, and here’s a great one of my teenager giving me the finger.”

“And this one…can’t forget this one. Little Suzy had just puked and decided to rest her head on the toilet. So sweet.”

“And this is a selfie of me, giving my husband the silent treatment cuz I’m pissed at him.”

 

People! All this stuff is happening to other people, too. It’s just not socially acceptable to share it. So settle down. Relax. You’re not the only one who’s a hot mess.

As a matter of fact, as I said, I’ve been trying to remember to take pics for months for this blog post. I was looking for behind-the-scenes kinds of moments. I got several.

And then I forgot about it. Cuz I do that. A lot.

But this morning, I saw a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Howerton, and it was about this exact thing!! I mean…exactly what I wanted to talk about. She even used the word “highlight reel” (this is the second time this week that I’ve been pretty sure someone has been spying on my brain.)

At first, I thought … Dang! Now I can’t write my post!

But then I remembered I’m not comparing myself to anyone else so I can write about it, too. I stopped reading immediately, so I wouldn’t be tempted to compare her awesomeness with my awesomeness (haha). 😉 Now I’ll have to go back and finish reading her post. And I’ll even link you to it…cuz even the small part I’ve already read, is awesome: “I’ve Got Your Lifestyle Blog Right Here.

So, I wanted to let you know, if you ever feel like you can’t get your shit together, feel free to send me an email. (When I first wrote that, I wrote ‘shizzle.’ Then I deleted that and wrote ‘s#%t.’ Then I decided that was dumb and I used the real word…cuz it works.) I can list so many things that I fail at. I’ll be happy to give you a list so you can feel better. Actually, I already did. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it.

And to make you feel even better, here’s a fun story. Just this weekend, I broke Nine’s little heart when I got him to the baseball field at 7:30 pm for his 8 pm game … that actually started at … 6pm.

Crap.

“But I was supposed to be the starting pitcher and I was going to get to play first base and shortstop!” (I heard that sentence over and over and over for the next two days.)

I felt HORRIBLE. Seriously, wanted to throw up cuz I felt so bad. But, it happens. I had to let it go. (I even sang the song to myself. Really.)

 

So, now, for your viewing pleasure…I have some Behind-the-Scenes family pics for ya. Enjoy! (and I really did take a pic of my youngest, sitting on the bathroom floor, just after he threw up. But, I can’t find it. So you (and he) have been spared :))

The contents of my linen closet. Pretty much how they looked when they were still in the closet. (At least it's clean.)
The contents of my linen closet. Pretty much how they looked when they were still in the closet. (At least it’s clean.) I still can’t fold a fitted sheet!

 

Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds... Fighting. Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds...
Fighting. Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds…

 

This was a fun day. When Twelve broke his arm the day before basketball season started. It was awesome.

 

This one has a story. This is a picture of my very favorite tea cup. My friend, Marissa, knew I loved this little tea cup so one day, she stopped by and gave me a matching one. I was thrilled. So, I took it to the sink to wash it, and proceeded to drop it. CRASH! I don’t think my friend was even out of the driveway yet. FAIL!

 

What my dining room table looks like, most of the time.

 

I was the one who applied the sunscreen. (or didn't)
I was the one who applied the sunscreen. (or didn’t)

 

What happens any time I don't use a timer. Take that, Pinterest!
What happens any time I don’t use a timer. Take that, Pinterest!

 

And last, but certainly not least, this picture was taken …

IN FEBRUARY!!!
IN FEBRUARY!!! Bam!
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Tell Your Face

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Twelve and Ten. In this shot, I had asked them to cross their arms. Ha!

Last night at Sixteen’s volleyball game, two different moms told me that my boys (Ten and Twelve):

  1. Were so cute
  2. Were so well behaved and always seemed happy
  3. Got along really well

I’m still laughing.

One out of three aint bad; they are cute.

Perception is such a funny thing. The way we think we are perceived and they way we are actually perceived can be so far apart. I remember when I used to lead worship at the women’s Bible study at my church. One night there was a woman in the audience who had a scowl on her face the whole time. I mean, if I had been a newbie I would have been totally freaked out.

But then afterward, she sought me out to tell me how much she enjoyed the worship music and how it touched her heart. I smiled and thanked her, but inside I was wondering if I should mention that she might want to tell her face how she was feeling!

So, back to my boys. They actually are good kids and they do get along pretty well in public. But at home? It’s pretty much World War Three.

Every. Single. Day.

Which means I walk around feeling stressed out by their behavior, trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong and how I can fix it. So, when two people make comments about my boys that are so far from the perception I have, I take a step back and evaluate. They really are pretty good kids. They drive me crazy and they don’t get along. Except when they do. Like at volleyball games. I think maybe I should take what I can get and give them a little credit, ya know?

And then I wonder…am I doing the same thing to myself? Am I walking around stressed out by all my flops and failures that no one else really sees? Am I constantly trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong and how can I fix it? Probably. It’s a quiet and subtle voice, so it’s easy to just let it play on in the background all day without realizing it. But I’m sure it affects the face I’m wearing. I’m sure it colors how I see the people around me.

I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Because that would be a lesson in missing the point. I’m just going to start listening a little more to some of the other comments in the conversation. I’ve been reading through Jesus’s words this week. The Red Letters. And in those red letter sections, I’ve seen some pretty cool comments about how valuable I am and how much God loves me.

And you know what? He says the same thing about you. He probably even thinks you’re cute.

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Hey, “Look Up” video dude…Back Away From My iPhone! (In defense of social media)

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Hello dear readers. This one has been brewing for a while and I just can’t keep myself from writing it today. So, instead of working on my book, like a good girl, I’m getting on a little bit of a soap box.

I’m sick of basically being told that because I use my smartphone regularly and I engage in social media, I don’t know how to communicate or connect and I don’t have real friendships and if I let my kids use smartphones they won’t play outside ever again and my son may never meet the wife he’s destined for because he found directions on his smartphone instead of being lost and asking a pretty girl on the street for directions and I could go on and on and on. Enough already! (Yes, I’m aware that was a very long run-on sentence. I’ve obviously forgotten all grammar rules because I text so often.)

There’s a viral video circulating social media this week called, “Look Up.” It’s cleverly written and shot. It’s a beautiful video, actually. I even agree with some of the things that the author is saying (I love smartly written things). I respect that the point being made is to encourage people to interact face-to-face. I do think that is a valid point.

But overall, I think most of the arguments put forth in the video are emotionally manipulative, logically flawed and one-sided. I get why it’s appealing and I understand why so many people are sharing it, but I resent the manipulation. And the irony? It’s had over 30 million views in a week. The video telling us all to put down our phones and close our computers has had over 30 million views on phones and computers. Come on. That is funny. (It even appears to be monetized which is even more ironic! But also, good business ;))

So, this video was the tipping point for me writing this post. But it’s not the only reason. This post comes from personal conversations, articles I’ve read and even a speaker I heard at a conference a few weeks ago. (I’ll get to him in a minute.)

First, I will say that YES, moderation is needed. If you are addicted to your phone, can’t put it down for the span of a meal, have convulsions if you forget it at home, check Facebook 100 times a day…well then maybe there’s a 12 step program you should check out. I’ve personally tried to be more cognizant of when I pull my phone out and when I should leave it in my purse. But in general, I don’t think our “display” (be it phone, computer, iPad, whatever) is ruining our lives or our ability to communicate. I think, if used properly, our displays can enhance our lives, increase our communication and our community.

If you are not communicating because you are so wrapped up in Candy Crush…well, that’s on you and you should definitely seek some reprieve, or a dentist or something. But, for the most part, I think people who are on their phones “too much” are still communicating. It’s just a different kind of communication than what the previous generation had, so it’s automatically misunderstood and looked down upon.

(Read this in the same voice that says, “In my day, we walked to school…uphill, both ways.”) : “In my day, we didn’t type at people on our phones, we actually called them on the phone and talked to them.” 

Congratulations.

I, for one, hate talking on the phone. I have four kids and I think some time around their first birthdays, a Telephone Radar Fairy snuck into their rooms at night and implanted a chip that told them exactly when I was just starting a phone conversation.

I could be two floors away from them, but as soon as that conversation got started, everyone suddenly neeeeeded me. Like now. Like “my arm is falling off, mom. How can you be on the phone at a time like this?”

Not to mention that I’m ADD and can do almost nothing else while I’m on the phone because I have to use every ounce of my concentration or I’ll get distracted by something shiny and miss what’s being said.

So, I grew to hate phone conversations. When email became a “thing” I was ecstatic. I could respond to phone calls via email at midnight (when it would not be acceptable to call) or during the day in the midst of two children having an epic battle over who’s chair it is. No one on the other end of that email would hear my children screaming while pushing each other off said chair, or me yelling back or anything like that. It was blissful.

Then, enter texting. “Hallelujah…Hallelujah…” (you can do the whole chorus in your head right now if you like. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

So, texting. It’s like Al Gore  someone invented this just for me. Because they knew that I love staying in touch with people but I hate talking on the phone and writing letters. Texting is a stay-at-home or work-from-home mom’s sanity sometimes. (Not even going to get into how convenient it is for getting quick answers to questions, etc. There’s so much I could say on that…but I digress…)

I have funny friends and I love getting random funny texts throughout the day. It makes me feel…wait for it…connected. Social media does the same thing. For a mom with young children who doesn’t get to leave home very often, Facebook can be a lifeline, making her feel like she’s still connecting with people. I reject the notion that it’s not a real connection. I think that it’s all in how you use it and in choosing (as with just about anything) not to abuse it. I also respect that it’s not for everyone. And not everyone likes to text. That’s cool too. But for me, they are fabulous tools.

For example, I have a very close friend named Karen, from when I lived in Virginia, almost twenty years ago. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch. But neither of us are good at phone calls or letters. So it was maybe once every four years or so that we’d see each other with hardly any communication in-between other than the yearly Christmas letters that we both usually got sent out by January 15th.

Then, about five years ago, I ran into her on a business trip and pleaded with her to get on Facebook because I’d found it to be such a great way to keep in touch with out of town friends. So, she signed up that week, and not only has it been wonderful to see each other’s kids as they grow and hear what’s going on in each other’s lives, it’s actually caused us to physically connect way more often. I think we’ve seen each other every single year since we connected on Facebook. And our kids have connected as well and become friends as a result.

Without social media, I don’t think that would have happened. I actually have several close friends that have moved away and I am able to stay in touch, thanks to texting and Facebook. I am so thankful for that.

Some would argue that I am able to balance screen time with face-to-face connection because I didn’t grow up with smartphones and iPads, so I learned those skills before the advent of mobile tech. But that this generation doesn’t know how to have a face-to-face conversation because they’ve grown up with their faces in a screen. I’m quite sure that’s true of some kids. But it’s not true across the board. Not even close.

I look at my four kids, ages 9-19. Very different personalities and very different ways of communicating. All of them have had liberal access to screens and displays and technology of varying types. All of them had the means to be staring at a screen all day long. (However, if they did that, I would cut them off. Moderation, right?) Here’s the thing. Three of them are pretty good at face-to-face conversations (two of them really excel at it). And one is pretty terrible at it. So, if the reason for his lack of communication skills is screen time, it would make sense that he would be glued to an iPod or something, right?

Nope. He doesn’t spend nearly the amount of time in front of a screen as some of the others. It’s just his personality. He’s an introvert. He doesn’t come by conversation naturally, especially with new people. It’s something we’re working on and it will take time but he will probably never be someone who loves to sit and chat. I’m okay with that, because we don’t all have to fit into an extroverted mold.

He may not be chatty, but he spends hours drawing cartoon characters and he loves doing it. For his ninth birthday, he wanted charcoal pencils and sketch pads. I love that he’s developing a skill and that he gets genuinely excited to show us his creations. And guess who taught him to draw?

The internet.

He looks up “how to draw” videos on YouTube and learns it on his own. Is it bad that he’s learning from a screen? The logic of some of the arguments out there would be, “Yes, because it deprives him of the connection he would have with an actual teacher. Someone who sat with him and showed him how to draw.”

Maybe, except that would never have happened. It’s not an either/or. I wouldn’t have hired an art teacher to come to my home and teach him how to draw Phineas and Ferb. So, I’m thankful for the screen time he’s put in, learning how to draw. I think it has enriched his life.

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Patient reader, already this post is waaaay longer than I wanted it to be. But I’m not quite done. So, if your blood sugar is low and you need a snack or if you need to check your email and come back, feel free. I’m gonna finish soon. I promise.

I was at a conference a few weeks ago and the keynote speaker was a very well known basketball coach. He had some excellent stuff to say and I was captivated by his talk. But he lost me at one point. The minute he said, “People don’t know how to communicate anymore,” my radar went up. I knew what was coming. “Everyone’s on their phones, all the time. It’s terrible. I saw a family sitting at a table in a restaurant and the parents were on their phones the whole time. They didn’t communicate at all.”

First, he has no idea why they were on their phones or if they actually know how to communicate. It’s simply a judgement made by a judgmental person. And it’s not the first time I’ve heard that kind of judgement. I just read something yesterday pleading with moms on playgrounds to put down their phones and pay attention to their kids. Sounds nice at face value but again, it’s really just ignorant judgment. I’m impressed that the moms took their kids to the play ground, in the first place. They’re already better moms than me! Haha.

Are there people who should learn to put their phones down and engage with the people in front of them? Sure. Are there people who are rude and don’t pay attention when they should? Heck yeah. Does it mean we’ve lost the ability to communicate. No. That’s absurd. Smart phones didn’t invent rude people. They were probably rude before, too.

So, back to the speaker, I was irritated by his line of reasoning but I got really annoyed when he said this, “Parents, don’t text your children. Pick up the phone and call them!”

The assumption being that his way (calling) is superior to texting. That calling is communication and texting is not. I mean no disrespect, but that is just ignorant. Texting IS communication. My relationship with my teens is enhanced by the fact that we text each other. Again, it’s not an either/or concept. My kids tell me things via text that we would probably never get to if they had to call me or tell me in person. My relationship with my daughter improved greatly when she got a phone and we started texting. Our communication increased. So, the texting isn’t replacing our face to face interaction. It’s adding to it. Sorry Coach…you’re just plain wrong on this one. I call a foul.

To sum up, rather than dropping the smartphone in the recycle bin, I think people should really just take some personal responsibility and use their screens wisely. If you have children and you feel they aren’t learning to communicate because they’re playing Minecraft, then by all means, take the iPod away. You are the one with the power, so use it.

But we shouldn’t make blanket statements like, “People don’t know how to communicate anymore.” It’s all the rage to say that. It’s vogue to dis the smartphone. But the reality is that the technology and social media aren’t going away. They’re going to evolve but they’re not going away. So instead of complaining about it, we should just learn to use them in a responsible way.

Okay, I’ve been in front of my screen for two hours now and three friends are joining me for lunch. So, I’m going to close my computer and connect. But I’m glad we’ve had a little time to connect here on my blog. Me and you, my lovely reader. Thanks for stopping by. And as always…I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

P.S. I read this to my friends at lunch and one of them suggested that I do a video blog for this post, so people can hear my tone and expression, because much of it is meant to be funny and that comes across when I read it. She said it would help those, like her, who don’t catch all that when they read. I have never done a video blog (don’t really care to have people looking at me) but I’d love your opinion. If you’d like to see me try something like that, let me know 🙂

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An Open Letter to Mindy Sauer

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Dear Mindy,

I know you’ve been told, over and over, what an impact you’re having on people as you go through this horrible ordeal. I’m sure you would rather have a healthy little boy than almost 50,000 facebook page “likes.” But that’s not the hand you’ve been dealt and I have never seen someone handle a bad deal with so much grace.

You and I talked about writing. About how writers process their thoughts with words on a page…how that’s what you’re doing. (For example, this letter has been writing itself in my head for days now and wouldn’t turn off until I finally sat down to write it!) So I understand that you’re processing all of this in writing. But you are so brave, friend, because you are processing and then hitting “publish,” making those thoughts public. Sharing a piece of yourself at a time when no one would blame you for shutting your doors and pulling the shades. 

Everywhere I go, people are talking about Ben. Seriously…everywhere. It’s mind-boggling. I’ve heard people wonder aloud why this story has captured so many hearts. Truth is, there are kids diagnosed with cancer every day. Truth is, Bad things happen to good people every day. So, why has this struck such a chord? I think there are a few obvious reasons:

First, your kids are some of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. (There’s just something about a pair of dimples.) I think I’ve probably liked more of your Instagram pics than any others, cuz they are just so darn cute. 

Second, it’s the twin thing. The thought of an identical twin losing his brother is just somehow harder to bear.

Third, any time a child has cancer, it’s undeniably unfair. And people react to that. 

For all those reasons, I think the story has spread. But you, Mindy, are the lightning rod. If you hadn’t shared your heart in such an eloquent, raw, honest way, I believe things would have gone very differently. But for His own reasons, God has seen fit to make this about more than a dreadful diagnosis. And you have allowed Him to do that, through you.

Because the world is longing to see true faith. A faith that is not based on circumstances. A faith that reassures us that God is good, even when things look very bad. A faith that is real and willing to be honest. To wrestle with hard questions. To cry and beg God for answers. A faith that is strong enough to carry a family through the hardest of times. 

You have shown us that, friend. You are showing that. Every day. With each mini miracle, each word in a post, each glimpse into the life of your precious Ben. You are giving people hope that true faith exists and God is good. 

So, I want to thank you. Thank you for letting us in when you had every right to shut us out. I know it can’t be easy. And if tomorrow, you stop writing…stop sharing…no one will blame you and we will keep loving you and praying for you. As you’ve said, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t owe anyone a single blog post. But as long as you keep writing them, we will keep reading and weeping with you. 

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I just wanted to tell you, from one mama to another, you have made a difference. 

You have helped me be a better mom. I pay more attention to what my kids say these days. I play more games. I watch more card tricks. I treasure each day because the truth is, none of us is guaranteed another one. Each day is a gift. Thank you for helping me to see that. 

And on behalf of the thousands you’ve touched, thanks for being so brave. You’ve inspired us all.

Love,
Rebekah

 

For any of my readers who (somehow) haven’t heard about Ben yet, click here to read his story: Blue4Ben

UPDATE:  On May 14, 2014,  Mindy posted the following on the Blue4Ben Facebook page:

Ben is with Jesus now. He took his first breath in heaven peacefully at 8:05pm last night. Thank you so much for praying. Our baby is at peace now.

Our local news channel, WGRZ, posted a beautiful piece about Ben’s story. Get some tissues and click here to watch it. It’s an incredible story.

 

Photo Credit goes to none other than four year old Jack Sauer.  Nice shot, big guy!

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Together (five minute friday…on monday)

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Five Minutes…Go!

I’ll be honest, I don’t like Halloween. I love fall decorations. I love crockpot meals and sweaters and boots. Hot chocolate, hot cider and hot tea. Crisp breezes and trees in a riot of reds, oranges and yellows. I love autumn. But I’ve just never been a huge fan of halloween. Probably, in large part, because I’m not into spooky, scary stuff. It’s just a matter of preference.

 

I truly don’t care if you want to watch zombie movies and go to haunted houses and put bloody body parts on your porch for decoration. Have at it. No judgement here. I just personally can’t stand that stuff.

 

So every year, I have to psych myself up for it. I feel bad…my poor kids. For weeks they ask what they’re going to be for halloween. “A zombie?” No. “A zombie hunter with fake blood all over my arms and shirt?” No. “Grim Reaper?” No. “Beetlejuice?” Um. No. “Not a pirate or baseball player again, mom.”  Well….

 

This year we’ve gone with Ironman and a biker dude. I’m happy, they’re happy. But then there’s the carving of the pumpkins. Again, nothing wrong with carving pumpkins. I just hate the mess. I avoid it for weeks and always try to convince them that painting pumpkins is really fun. They don’t buy it. I’m a total wet blanket, party pooper and I know it.

 

But here’s the thing. My kiddos love to carve pumpkins. And, it’s something we can do together. So, I’m trying to love it. I bought them new stencils and carving kits…looked up a video online with tips and tricks and they are currently carving away. I’ve been helping, too. I sat on the floor and taped stencils to the pumpkins. And they’ve been working away for the last hour on their creations. In a few minutes, they’ll be done and we’ll light up some candles and stick their masterpieces out on our new front porch and I’ll be glad I stopped my internal whining and had fun with my boys.

 

So the only point to my post is that sometimes, in order to be together with the ones we love, we may have to do things that they love and we don’t. In the process, we build memories and that’s a cool thing. Tomorrow they are all going to drink tea and read Jane Austen with me.

 

kidding 😉

Stop! (five minutes are up!)

Here are some pics of the jack-o-lantern process:

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I read about a way to keep the mess to a minimum. Have the kids carve on top of a big trash bag and then when they’re done, you just turn the bag inside out and all the messy pumpkin stuff is now inside the trash bag. Worked beautifully!
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“Nine” has been asking me every day for the last week, when he would get to carve his pumpkin. Squeaky wheel. 😉
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“Eleven” and “Nine” with their creations.
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“Sixteen” came home from work and whipped out the Superman pumpkin, freehand, in less than 30 minutes. Little brothers were in awe 🙂

Today’s post was inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. Each week, hundreds of writers, from all walks of life, take five minutes to write a post with from the same prompt word. No re-writing and editing. Just five fast minutes of whatever comes to mind. If you’d like to join us, click here to get the info!

 

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