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Mental Health May
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She just disappeared from school one day.  She had always been quiet in class, but her absence spoke loudly to me. She wasn’t someone I would have been concerned about struggling with emotions.   But I should have been concerned. But it’s the quiet ones you have to watch. And the ones who smile every day. And the ones who act normal. And the...

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Chasing Down Grateful
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It’s that time of year. Students are grumpy and unmotivated. Teachers are tired of students’ annoying behaviors that have been going on all.year.long. Last week, I had spent some time planning a class activity I thought the students would enjoy. Tim helped me think through it. As we discussed it later and the lack of enthusiasm, he said, “Man, I really thought they would...

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Blooming
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Blooming

Apr 9, 2017 by

Abby blooms up before me like a lily, talking like a miniature adult,  sponging up everything I say, asking me why and what’s that mean? All this as I look every night in the mirror to see more wrinkles, just a touch of silver at the hairline. Her moon waxes as mine begins to wane; she’ll tower over me before long. Ben comes to...

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Given
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Given

Nov 22, 2016 by

I wake up Sunday morning to a bed boiling over with children. Abby is curled up beside me, Isaac down by my feet, and Susanna up by my head. Tim’s spot, vacated over an hour ago in order to allow quiet prep time at church, has been triply filled. If I draw a bath, children try to climb in with me. If I get...

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Miss Bossy-Pants
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She starts as soon as she gets up. First she picks out her own (seasonally inappropriate) outfit to wear, then she picks out her brothers’ clothes down to the underwear.  This is unappreciated and she comes to me pouting, “Isaac don’t want to wear dese clothes I got.” From her bath, she yells out into the hallway that she doesn’t want toast with her...

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All the Little Pieces
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When I started this blog, it was with an aim to celebrate the ordinary moments that make family life golden.  The title “Little Pieces of Ordinary” meant examining the tiny pieces that make up the beauty of the mosaic.  Anyone who has a family knows about the annoying moments, which are legion, but I wanted to focus on the sacredly funny and sweet moments,...

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Fresh Start
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Fresh Start

Jul 20, 2016 by

Yesterday, I dragged our coffee table and end table outside and gave them each a fresh coat of white paint. With each stroke of the brush, I simply painted over the marks, scratches, and blemishes of the previous year. It was wonderfully therapeutic. I’m ready for a new school year. That first clean piece of notebook paper. A new pencil with an untouched eraser....

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Write.
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Write.

Jun 8, 2016 by

I miss writing. I believe a small kind of joy erupts every time you express yourself in a creative act–from coloring a picture as a four year old to choosing an outfit as an eight year old.  These acts of creativity reveal to ourselves more fully who we are–and to others, too.  That’s the vulnerable part.  When my children come to show me their...

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Thin Places
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Thin Places

Mar 28, 2016 by

The bell was about to ring in 45 seconds as I hot-glued my sandal strap into place where it had disconnected from the ankle strap. It was an apt metaphor for how I felt going into the school day—glued together, holding on by a string, getting by.  We had received some bad news about a close family member, cancer, and the tears kept welling...

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Things I Love Right Now
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How Susanna thinks milk is called “milk-please,” ie: “Mommy, you get me some milk-please?” and “Mommy? You got my milk-please?” How she calls Dora “Da-Da-Dora” because I tried to get her to pronounce the first letter one time.  And how she yells out all the Spanish words at the tv when Dora prompts her to. ABAJO!  (She watches Dora with such unblinking intensity that...

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In Lieu of a Christmas Card
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Dear friends and family, Christmas cards are not in the mail. We love you and you are all worth a stamp, but we simply cannot do cards. Maybe when everyone is out of diapers? Nah, probably not even then. Man, it’s been a year of change. In March, I was spending every day with my two youngest babies, drinking coffee in my pjs until...

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It’s Hard to Be Tim
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This morning I wandered around in a sleepy state looking for my cell phone. After five minutes, I gave up, made a cup of coffee, and opened up my computer instead. A facebook message awaited me from Tim, reminding me I have nursery duty and informing me that my phone was on his car this morning when he drove to church. When he stopped...

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How Being a Teacher Has Made Me a Better Mom
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  I recently learned of some heavy heartache a student of mine is carrying quietly upon his shoulders along with his backpack and homework. I felt utterly hopeless to help with his burden. I can’t control the variables of my students’ lives, but I can write the story of my own family. When I returned to teaching after eight years as a stay-at-home mom,...

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For All Those Who Don’t Have it All Together
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Dear Friend, I got your message. I hate what happened to you this past week. You were judged as a parent by a bystander. An old man watched you chase your toddler into the street and chastise him. He called out to you and warned you not to be so hard on your little guy, lest you break him. It hurt, this flash judgment....

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Seasons of Change
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  I cried all the way to work. The harder I tried to suppress the tears, the more stubbornly they forged salty rivers down my cheeks. I missed my kids. Also, I missed the comfort zone of my old life. I was one week into my return to the work force after eight years at home birthing, nursing, cuddling, and raising babies. The transition...

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Loving the Difficult Child
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For the 50th time that day, he put his hands on his cousins. Not wrestling exactly, not unkindly, but definitely handling them about the head, shoulders, and face. At six years old for a high-energy boy, it doesn’t get much better than visiting Disney World with your six and seven year old boy cousins and he was riding high on life. The decibels of his...

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