Thursday, February 1, 2018

homeland security

So, as is typical, January arrived with various illnesses and forced isolation for this family. It is almost always in January that we get sick, but sometimes it happens in March. The other thing that triggers illness is intense and rapid changes in weather. I'm talking about 20-30 degree difference in temperature and weather. For the past three weeks we've had a few days of 60 degree days, then a few days of 20 degree days. This has happened multiple times. The "gunk" tends to stick around when it's like this!

Anyway, that is neither here nor there, but it does give a reference to the irritability meter of the members of our household.

Let me add that my husband has started graduate school.

We were all sitting around the living-room one night this week after dinner, doing school work, or reading various assignments or books. You know, just hanging out.  It was 7 PM. I know it was 7 because I was counting down the minutes till the time I could appropriately retreat to my bedroom. I start coveting my bed at five PM during the winter months, because, you know, winter.

"I need to construct a framework for a policy making something-something related to problems with homeland security."

He looks around expectantly at us. Danielle and I raise our eyebrows and make the type of face that conveys, "let me process this issue and come up with a solution for said issue within the next few minutes." We are both fixers.

Katie, though, immediately answers, "Well!" --She pauses for dramatic effect because, you know, she is Katie. "I think we should be able to put signs in our yard that say go to church or we worship Jesus and we shouldn't get in trouble for that, because if more people went to church, there would be less crime!"

She is met with a long moment of silence. Danielle rolls her eyes, Tommy flaps a little, and Mark looks a little frustrated (and irritable, he was one of the sick ones). I, of course, am like, "that's my girl." She has addressed homeland security as it pertains to her homeland, and her security. Right on!

Because I speak Katie-speak, I know that she means Homeland security starts at home, and she is thinking of securing her neighborhood. Plus, she has discovered that Jesus is always the correct answer. Before Mark can implode, I very helpfully try to translate Katie-speak into Mark-speak, because I speak Mark-speak, as well, and I know he is about to say something to the effect of, "What are you even talking about?!? What does that have to do with anything?!?!" I don't want anyone's feelings to be hurt, so I translate for everyone often at our house.

So, we end up discussing Katie's ideas and we encourage her to think a bit more broadly. Questions get bantered back and forth about potential homeland security issues, ideas start to be formulated. Conversation is starting to pick up about frameworks, policies, and security issues. We begin to sound very smart, indeed.

At this moment, Tommy decides to weigh in.

"Well, if aliens from outer space try to land here, that would be a huge homeland security issue, because, you know, they are truly illegal aliens!"

Danielle puts her head in her hands while the rest of us turn to look at Tommy. We were doing so well.

"Of course, unless they were invited, which they might be; the government covers everything up, now."

Friends, he's serious. This is what happens at our house. So, because I also speak Tommy-speak, I attempt to start translating his idea, but we are all already lost at this point. I'm trying not to laugh. Danielle is laughing. Katie just looks confused. Mark is looking at us like, "I can't even do anything with that."

And he's not wrong, you know. The phrase, "I can't even," was invented for families like mine.

Before Tommy started to add anymore alien insight into the conversation, I over-ruled the situation by dismissing Tommy and Katie from the discussion, and then I quickly retreated to my room, claiming the need for a bath (and the chocolate I keep hidden in my sock drawer).

Sometimes love looks like ending a discussion before it gets any crazier. The moral of this story, of course, is that homeland security looks different for everyone, although I'm pretty sure Mark's grad school assignment referred to a more geo-political framework, and not the outer-space issue, nor a homeowners association issue. Just in case, though, we have everything covered at our house:)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Post Holiday Blues...

It happens to all of us, right?

I love the holidays! I put the tree up and decorate the house the first weekend in November, when possible. Sometimes, decorating will happen before that. I love it when there is an extra weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I used to leave the decorations up until the day of Epiphany, but usually a few days after Christmas I'm putting "Christmas away." It is almost like I'm trying to beat the blues by just getting everything done while I'm still in a good place- you know- mentally.

This year we surprised the kids and took a cruise to the Caribbean. We (our family) have taken cruises before, but it has been about nine years since we last took a cruise. We (Mark and I) kept our plan a secret so that no one could give it away by accident. I was afraid that I would mess up, or Mark would, but we did it! The kids were shocked! We had a fun time, too. On the cruise, we were able to truly vacation from the everyday stuff of life-- I didn't even have to make my bed for a whole week!

Now, here is the real life version:

All three kids got seasick, Tommy over-ate and was sick one night prior to being seasick. We had two episodes of "slightly rough" seas, hence the seasickness. Here's a life hack: take the medicine BEFORE you start feeling nauseous. Here's another: buy the patch form of the medicine before you leave home, that way, if you get nauseous, you don't have to swallow a pill. On our last port day- the day I was looking most forward to- the ship couldn't safely run the tinder operation because of wind conditions. So, we actually had five sea days.

Now, I KNOW this is a very first world problem- to be disappointed on a cruise. I mean, I'm on a luxury ship, eating fantastic food (that I don't have to cook, mind you), going to fabulous shows, sitting in a solarium, going in the pools and hot tubs... I am lucky to have been able to do this. A vacation- probably the last vacation with all the kids being under our roof and provision- what a lucky, blessed girl I am to be able to enjoy such a treat.

So, the "disappointment" that I didn't get to do all the things I wanted is just that- a disappointment. Perspective, though, means I totally and completely recognize the privilege of being able to go on vacation. So, when people ask if we had fun, the answer is a resounding yes. Was it all smiling and roses, though? No. of course not. Life isn't like that. We had some challenges, some disappointments, and we still had a great trip, and we learned some things... Tommy learned four hotdogs and four ice cream cones don't mix, for example. Katie didn't want to do the teen-club thing on the ship, even though I was sure she would. Danielle didn't want to do the teen thing, either (which didn't surprise me), but she enjoyed being solitary, and on her own. Mark and I got to stay up late and enjoy one another without the pressure of a schedule. It was refreshing. It was renewing. It was good.

It is a new year again. Time to focus on health, habits, decluttering (always), and relationships. It really does go by too fast- time, that is.

My word this year is contentment. I'm striving to be content. In all things, Paul (the apostle) was content. I'm going to give it a try this year. God has whispered (very loudly) in my ears, on my heart, to be content. Enjoy where I am. He gives me what I need. It's going to be alright... and all right.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

in between:)


I have decided to step back from writing weekly for FredParent. I just need to take some time to discern what God wants for me and to listen to where He is leading me. I will continue to write, for sure, just not on a weekly basis.

Christmas has just passed and, incredible, another new year is upon us. One day, I'll stop being so surprised at how fast time flies... maybe. I'm always amazed by this, so who knows? Tommy may very well have me convinced of a time continuum. Crazy, I know.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. I felt overwhelmingly blessed by friends and family. I so enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus. My Savior. My King.

have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Looks like


Sometimes, love looks like two ten plus hour drives in one month:) each way, mind you. Love is doing. It is an action. 


Sometimes, love is physical. I have three, well, arguably four physical touch peeps in my family. That's their love language so, sometimes love is holding, and petting, and hugging, and back scratching.


Sometimes, love is just sitting, listening, and watching. 


Sometimes, love means stopping what I am doing and joining in- whatever that may be.

I am thankful. I am grateful. Love is patient, kind, and brave.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017



I know this about myself: November and December always spike my anxiety levels. I'm guessing this has to do with the desire to please, the added expenses of fancy food and gift giving, and the extra organizational challenges of decorating and keeping secrets (gifts and such). 

This is my favorite season, and the most stressful. It's kind of like having a newborn- it's the most precious time, it goes by so fast, and it's so exhausting.

So, I breathe. I pray instead of meditating (in the traditional sense), because the value of quiet time and meditating- on Christ, for me- are immeasurable. 

Breathe, pray, and focus on being mindful on the moments happening right now. This season I am trying very hard to be mindful and present and to not be so distracted by the stress side of things. Stress is a hard hurdle to get around, I know. I'll keep trying, though.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Another... Another, I know... catch up post to link all my musings together:)

Love deeply, Kristen:)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

catch ups again...

A few catch up posts from my writing over at FredParent. I love writing, and I'm really trying to discern if I should write more formally. I'm always wondering what if... what if... what if...