Category Archives: Vive!

Thoughts about the hilarity in life


Eight years ago I wrote a post on this blog titled How to Say, “I’m Sorry.” The working title was The Anatomy of an Apology and I gave three tips each on how to both give and accept an apology.

Today, I’m thinking, again, about the power of a sincere apology, the beauty of reconciliation, and the part I can play in it all.

Sometimes, in the thick of a hurtful situation, we can’t even believe that reconciliation is a possibility. But, as Christians, we are called to never remove reconciliation from the table.

Right here is where I usually have a moment of pure donkey-like, foot planted, stubbornness in my thought process. I don’t want to be close to some people who have hurt me! They are stinkers who deserve to rot in their horrid, awful, eye-wateringly pungent stinkiness!

(I’m joking about that to a certain degree, but it’s really not a joking matter when you recognize that in some cases you have been looking at manipulative abuse and to allow a person access to your life can be extraordinarily risky.)

So what does reconciliation even entail?

A basic search of the word reconcile reveals its a verb meaning, “to restore friendly relations between.” It can also be “to cause to coexist in harmony; to make or show to be compatible.”

Then there’s this definition, which struck me hard this morning:

“To make (one account) consistent with another, especially by allowing for transactions begun but not yet completed.”

Other definitions are “to settle (a disagreement)” and “to make someone accept (a disagreeable or unwelcome thing).”

I want to go back to this definition of reconcile as consistency and an accounting term because it has the potential for depth.

Accounting is pretty non-emotional (well, except when you can’t figure out why your checkbook is $1.23 off for months on end). Numbers are cut and dried, they represent a certain amount and that’s it.

Numbers are a glimpse at truth.

When we reconcile our accounts, what we’re really saying is that we can all agree that these are the items that came before, and this final answer, it’s real. From that basic starting point we can figure out what to do moving forward without any question about what has gone on previously.

It’s an agreement.

In our storage business, a customer must come in and make sure that there are no outstanding debts on their rental space before they may move out. There’s no antagonism about it, we just make sure the dates they used the space match up and the account is paid. When it’s settled they can walk away freely. We hope they come back as a customer in the future if they ever need storage again, but I have no expectation of them doing anything – our agreement is finished and all is good.

That’s the definition of reconciliation I want to pursue in the stinky situations.

The problem with relationships is that they are often not cut and dry. We are emotional creatures who are easily offended, or enthused, and perceptions filter into our lives and shape our experiences.

A sincere apology is pretty much the only thing that can cancel the emotion of an offense. Time passing certainly helps, but a genuine, “I’m sorry” soothes the soul and creates a consistent balance sheet that can be reconciled.

(I do know the Scripture that says, “love keeps no record of wrongs” and that you might be arguing in your head with me right now about my use of the words “balance sheet” – I’m not done with my thought process, so stick with me for a little longer.)

I’ve been a saying a good number of apologies lately. As I have pondered actions I’ve taken in the past I thought were right at the time, I have realized I was actually unkind and wrong. Uncharitable and lacking in mercy.

I don’t want to be that person. So, as situations have crossed my mind – I believe prompted by the Holy Spirit – I have reached out to folks and asked for forgiveness.

Some have not responded.

But, overwhelmingly, I have received graceful responses from those I’ve contacted. We have left our most recent interactions not necessarily as friends, but friendly. Because the accounts between us have now been settled.

Eight years ago I was delving into this topic with blog posts. I have improved at taking responsibility over time, but I still struggle. Why?

I believe that pridefulness is the number one reason we don’t see apologies all over our world. I believe we each struggle with pridefulness to a crazy degree.

Here’s a reality: it doesn’t hurt us to say “I’m sorry.” There’s no downside to saying it – unless that apology is insincere. Or qualified.

(Here’s an identification clue for an apology that will cause more friction: “I’m sorry… but…” The “but” negated everything you said prior to and is a sign you need to keep working at the problem to figure it out.)

An apology must be informed. It is inappropriate to ask for mercy from someone unless you have articulated and understand the offense that occurred (the consistent balance sheet I was mentioning earlier).

This takes effort and humility, yet it is a process that cannot be glossed over in the interest of just getting the problem solved and moving on to the next thing.

On the flip side, apologies cannot be demanded. We can’t force someone to apologize to us, especially if they don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong.

That knowledge, however, doesn’t take away the need for the apology in order to achieve reconciliation. I believe that is why the Scripture states: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 It’s not a black and white issue.

Humans are going to mess this process up. So do the best you can with the tools you’ve got to work with right now and keep praying for opportunities to practice and become better.

We do what we can do to live at peace. Sometimes that fails and we walk for a season without reconciliation, trusting that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on the situation and ready for the next opportunity to approach it.

In my current season of begging for forgiveness I’ve reached out to apologize to folks I haven’t spoken to in years. Like I’ve had kids who weren’t born when we talked last and now that same kid is getting their adult molars!

It took me that long to realize I had an account that needed reconciliation.

But when I realized it… I moved. I refuse to let pride, insecurity, or embarrassment stop me from trying to make things right.

That’s all I can do. And that’s all I am asked to do.

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Gaslighting – What is it?

There’s a term that has emerged into my awareness in recent years called “gaslighting.” I have used it lately and had people look at me with questioning eyes, so it seems worth a discussion of the definition!

The definition of gaslighting is: to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. “‘Gaslighting’ is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her own sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality.” (PRI)

Gaslighting is a tricky concept, and it absolutely takes advantage of the one who is trying to be a people pleaser. It can be a tool used to silence discussion, to rebuild a shared history into a more favorable final outcome, and to assert superiority of one person over another.

An example of gaslighting from my experience:

CC has never expected folks to travel more than 100 miles to practicums or community visits, etc. I know this because I’ve served in a huge geographical territory and this is a staple of what we talk about to leaders. However, when I pushed back on current leadership about requiring tutors to attend a practicum after the location was moved to 100+ miles away from their home, I was told that rule never existed.

It took me texting folks who have been serving in large territories and asking them, “This is a thing, right? I didn’t make it up?” and much research to discover that the 100 mile expectation is clearly stated in the Family Covenant that each family signs. Triumphant, I said – “This is a thing! I promise, I’m not crazy!” at which point the team leadership told me that the stricture only applied to families, whereas tutors were called to a higher standard. That I was still crazy for not recognizing this.

But… tutors who are independent contractors are held to a lesser standard by law in our state and should not be expected to attend any training whatsoever – they should be contracted because they already possess the skill set needed to fulfill the job!

That’s gaslighting.

I was led to believe that I was making up a common practice and a little insane – or contrary – or causing confusion – so the leadership could put all of the responsibility for all of the conflict onto my own shoulders. But I never initiated the conflict; I only got involved when the appropriate boundaries were overstepped and it threatened the lawful operation of my community… and yet I walked away from the conversations questioning if I was the problem.

That’s gaslighting.

When an organization changes its practices regularly, it lends itself to situations where gaslighting can occur easily. When an organization preaches humility to it’s leadership – which is a good thing – it lends itself to difficulty thinking a differing opinion is allowed to exist. When leaders speak down to you, or tell you that you just don’t understand from the correct perspective – without giving you the tools to see it from “the right perspective” – it sets up an unhealthy, abusive relationship.

Goodness gracious – I sat for years on situations that made me uncomfortable because I refused to say anything just in case it was a preference issue instead of a sin issue! There is so much gray in this world and I don’t want to be a destroyer – I want to build things up!

Repeatedly, almost as a mantra, I have spent this spring saying, “I have common sense. I use good judgement, I am a leader with integrity, I am not overreacting,” because the folks above me were telling me that by speaking up, by going to bat for my tutors and community, I was subversive, unsubmissive, acting like a spoiled child who wasn’t getting their way, and divisive. (And don’t let me get started on what my husband thinks about the manipulative assault he saw taking place on my character and self-perception over this!)


“Gaslighting is an insidious act that makes the victim doubt and mistrust what they think, experience, or feel. In short, it’s a brilliantly brutal way of messing with someone’s mind.” (The Date Mix)

Here are some suggestions to help you if you’ve been gaslighted:

Don’t Waffle.

If you’ve made a decision, stand by it. Yes, you could be wrong – so what are the consequences if you’ve messed up? Can you live with them? Yes? Then stand by your decision. Test your decision with writing a list. Research your decision. Then, even if it’s a gray area, STAND.

Keep a Record.

May I just say that it might be wise to figure out how to record your conflict conversations? (Obviously, don’t break your state law here. But, in all but 11 states, federal law allows for one-party consent, enabling you to record a conversation in person or over the phone, if you are a participant in the conversation.)

Recording your calls allows you to go back later and actually know what was said. It has been a wonderful antidote to “I never said that,” when I can say, “Actually, you did say that – it’s a direct quote from this conversation right here.” Since gaslighting techniques prey on making you believe you’re misunderstanding, actually knowing what was said has a liberating affect on the whole resolution process.

(And yes, I do realize how messed up it is that I’m saying you should record conversations within a Christian organization in order to ensure truthful statements….)

Confide in a Trusted Support System.

You need to have someone who can help you see reason and logic. This is not gossip, this is survival. You don’t necessarily need a dozen people to help you see truth, but you do need one or maybe two folks who can help you walk through these issues. They don’t even have to be a part of the organization! Try a parent, a friend, a spouse, a sibling, or even a therapist. Have someone who is willing to listen to you sort stuff the tangled issues – isolation is a key technique to making sure you stay confused and doubtful of your own convictions.


The time might come for you to give up. I know the fighter in you recoils when you read that! But you can honor the call for unity within the body of Christ without being in constant, daily relationship with another. Sometimes the best choice is to make a clean break and walk.

How do you know when enough is enough? “If your partner genuinely wants to change, then they’ll acknowledge their part, apologize for any wrongdoing, and want to work on the relationship, which will be evident to you… [but] the sad truth is that your abuser may never realize or admit what they were doing – mostly because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” (Brianne Hogan)

Your healthiest choice might very well be to walk away and let them just simmer in their wrongy-wrongness, especially if there is no acknowledgement that they can see anything from your perspective.

Don’t Blame Yourself.

“Logic and reasoning don’t work with a gaslighter. While things might never make sense to you, that doesn’t mean you should shoulder the blame.” (Brianne Hogan) For those who are genuinely wanting to come at conflict from a consensus based approach, who are trying to avoid pridefulness, it can be really hard to not look around and take the blame for things going wrong on your own shoulders.

Yes, there are likely things you could have done better – but that’s the human experience and it’s part of learning! If things go badly for the other party (or if the organization fails), there needs to be reckoning on their part for the role they played through subterfuge, tricky wording, and guilted expectations. Their failure is not your fault for saying, “No, I refuse to be used anymore.” Your stand for logic and reasoning is actually a sign of health, strength, and beauty.

Recognizing gaslighting is hard, but it’s also really hard to acknowledge that you’ve been the victim of the techniques. I’m so sorry if you have experienced this! I know that I’m continuing to work through my own experiences with gaslighting – calling a spade a spade is part of my healing process.

Do you have experiences you realize were ultimately gaslighting techniques? I’d love to hear in the comments, as well as how you’ve found healing!

If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution). Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

You Want The Reasons We have Left CC

Why We're Leaving CC

Last night I came home, talked to my in laws, hung out with my husband and sick kids, and then wrote a fb post about putting my feet up after my last community day of CC. I was deliberately vague but a fb friend was quick to comment, “Last day of the year, or last day ever?”


I responded, “Last day ever,” then went through and looked at the four different versions I’ve written trying to articulate why our family is leaving CC. Nothing was right, so here’s what I ended up posting:

Well, the cat is out of the bag… I have tried to figure out what to say and how to say it and nothing seems to fit quite right… so, here goes a very inelegant, “Facebook official” statement.

Our family has made the decision to leave Classical Conversations permanently. Illogical accusations and unlawful expectations from our state leadership are the straw that has broken the camels back, but, to be honest, the business practices and philosophy changes have caused me heartburn for quite awhile. We have been praying that God would be extremely clear if He wanted us to change anything and He’s been so faithful! It’s become quite obvious that He’s ready to move us in a new direction.

After 8 years in regional leadership and publicly promoting the organization across the country, I feel like it’s reasonable to make a public statement about our changes. This has been a heartbreaking decision. It is not one I *ever* anticipated making.

We don’t know exactly what things will look like in the future. What I can say is that the curriculum has worked fabulously for our kids and we are wanting to continue with a Classical Model of Education that will develop critical thinking skills. I’m hoping to blog about this journey on

I used to passionately declare we couldn’t homeschool without C.C.! Well, the circumstances of our experience have changed drastically and now I am realizing we can homeschool excellently without C.C.! I have to thank C.C. and its existence for giving me the tools I needed to learn to create and manage a better fit for our family with confidence.

Being able to make this decision, while it has emotionally wrecked me, has given me a crazy amount of freedom. We all know homeschoolers are about as easy to manage as a herd of cats… but I have realized I gave up my individuality and voice in support of someone else’s vision. I’ve been a very profitable player in someone else’s capitalistic scheme. 🤣 Yet Organizations have no memories… so if I have a choice of being a cog in the wheel or a Mama… I’d much rather direct my efforts toward these precious kids that I’m privileged to parent. 💗

#classicalconversations #leavingCC #itsgonnabeok

Whoa, Nelly.

I had no idea what was about to happen. Our family started watching our traditional Friday night family movie night (this week it was Captain America) while my Facebook feed blew up. And that was nothing compared to the multitudes of notes I got in Messenger or the texts I have received on my phone.

First: Thank you. The decision of whether or not to go public with our departure is one my husband I have prayed over for several weeks. Our goal is not to create a furor of gossip, so speaking out publicly is not something we would typically do. However, our family has been highly and publicly involved in Classical Conversations. Both my husband and I have been practicum speakers in multiple states, I’ve been a Director for eight years and was a driving force in establishing CC in our state, as an AR for five years over a three-state territory I worked to establish and support communities in a larger region. I have been the creator and an admin for the Foundations/Essentials Directors Facebook group for the last four years. We have been publicly involved in the organization and that has given us reason to believe that a public statement is reasonable and necessary.

Second: While it might be temporarily satisfying to go into great detail of what gripes we have, the details might not be helpful in the larger picture. Yes, we absolutely think our reasons for leaving this company are legitimate and it would be a nice salve to my pride and help me gain a boost of confidence from seeing comments of vindication from other people who agree. But would that be the best witness of Christianity? Would that be the best way to support homeschooling in this country?

The Bible says in Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” We believe we are leaving for reasons that are valid and have been inspired by the Holy Spirit. We also want to walk uprightly and with integrity. God has been so faithful to us to give us certainty that He is moving us away. You can trust Him to display His faithfulness to YOU by giving you disquiet or peace in this decision, because that’s the business of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 23:1-4 states: “‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds,’ declares the LORD.” The consequences from God for poor leadership are significant and a reason anyone should pause before assuming the mantle of leadership in any way. I can actively and passionately pray for the people who have created these issues for us through action (or inaction) because I would NOT want to switch places with them.

I can trust that God’s consequences for poor leadership are worse than any raking over the coals on social media.

Also realize – as folks who have committed to home education, we have a vested interested in doing what we can to make homeschooling trustworthy. I want it to be easier for people to take those first steps down this path. I am committed to people feeling courageous enough able to make this lifestyle choice. (OK, let’s be honest, I also want our kids to have other kids to marry who will be like minded!)

If the largest voice in the country for the cause of homeschooling is thrown under the bus, there will be a negative affect on families. And those families, even though I don’t know them right now, are worth sacrificing my selfish pride and sense of justification to support.

Let’s be realistic – Classical Conversations has provided an excellent product in the form of curriculum and a model for community. This tool has helped literally thousands of people who would never have had the courage to homeschool on their own to take those first steps. That’s something to praise! If you believe that home education is a way to change our society, you should be thrilled whenever any option comes along to make educating this next generation more achievable! If I go crazy and attack CC I’m really only gnawing at my own leg from a larger perspective.

Third: If you’re here because you are uneasy, you’re not alone. I walked into this situation with a nervousness that I would lose relationships from people in leadership across the country. That there would be a mass exodus of Facebook friends who are offended that I would ever say something negative about CC. Dude, that is not the case. My messenger feed has exploded. My phone has been buzzing off from text messages so much the battery died. (It kind of makes me identify with the announcers on PBS of the last Presidential election results; they all assumed one candidate would win and as the results of the silent majority came filtering in, you could see their incredulous and disbelieving reactions!)

I’m shocked by the response because I’ve spent several months thinking I must be going crazy that this situation is even happening. (That’s called gaslighting. I’m learning so many things in this process.) Our experiences recently are so far removed from the organizational values I’ve know and loved I thought I must be mistaken or misunderstanding. But here’s the deal: I’m not crazy. (I never was – I was being manipulated by some masters with a specific agenda.) Assuming my experience is true, then there’s a good chance that if you are struggling with concerns – you aren’t crazy either.

Where does this leave us?

For the average parent and family I think there are really no issues to be concerned about being in the organization. The model, the method, it works. It really does. Our education and community has been invaluable and we have LOVED it in pretty much every way.

For the Director, you should ask questions outside of your team leadership. I was a team leader and I was purposefully never, ever given the tools to be able to answer the questions that needed to be addressed to support people from the business perspective. You’ll have to do your own footwork here because CC will not do it for you.

Run your contract through an attorney and a CPA. Make sure you’re doing the things that will protect you as much as possible from Murphy’s Law because I can assure you that the way CC has written their contracts they are legally not bound to support you in any way. Many have made the mistake of thinking this is a ministry because that’s what it has felt like locally and under previous leadership but make no mistake – CC is NOT a ministry. It is a business and it’s being run as a FOR-PROFIT. This feels like a philosophical change for many people, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk.

If you would check with professionals and do due diligence in starting a branch of Kaplan testing services… do the same stuff before you sign on the dotted line of any contract coming from Classical Conversations. Take the blinders off your eyes and the feel-good, fuzzy feelings off of your heart and get serious because if anything goes wrong it’s on your head and there is almost indubitably no CC-calvary headed your direction to save the day. YOU ARE HOLDING ALL LIABILITY from everything to misclassification of workers to property tax exemptions to medical expenses if Johnny falls off the slide and breaks his arm.

Now… enough of that gloom and doom.

As we’ve walked through this process I have found much comfort in researching the American Revolution. Yep, I’m a weirdo, but I believe history can speak to us and our founders were willing to write down their thoughts for us to see today.

You know, from Britain’s perspective the Americans were unsubmissive, sulky children whose complaints didn’t deserve attention or resolution. But for the Americans – they were actually willing to wrestle with a lack of submission based upon Biblical principles. They were actively considering truth, beauty, and goodness. The American Revolution was the first war that was fought for principle, rather than land ownership.

Because I’m an American, many of those independent ideals are inherent in the way I view the world. Homeschoolers in general are more willing to buck the system because they’re already doing it against the vast majority of families in the country by opting out of the public schools. All of this is a longwinded set up to say, this quote from the Declaration of Independence is one I’ve been chewing on lately:

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Application to my own situation?

Classical Conversations is a government of homeschoolers that is voluntary. It’s not required. It should never be an idol, or a whip, or a threat. It’s a tool that is marvelously helpful and effective when those who are governed are given the freedom to practice their independence while choosing to fall into philosophical alignment.

And that’s all I have to say about that for now.

We are actively trying to identify the things we’ve loved and how we plan to continue in the future. If you’d like to follow this progress (as well as be invited into our crazy life), please feel free to subscribe or follow this blog.

If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution). Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

The Great Golden Guernsey Getaway

This is Astrid. She has opinions.

There was a time two years ago when I utilized every ounce of my creative ability to make a pink flamingo pinata for Dos’ birthday. It took a week. It was fabulously awful and I decided I will never, ever again feel badly about not making a pinata but that the flamingo pinata will be the photo I show that child whenever she tells me in the future that I don’t love her.

Now I have a whole new “proof I love you” adventure, but this time it’s with Uno.

She fell in love with a dairy goat. Despite us telling her (repeatedly and explicitly) that dairy goats need to be milked twice a day, she persisted. She began to look up recipes for goat soap and lotion, talk to friends who might want goats milk, examine photos of goat udders on the internet (which Bubby calls “milkers” or “butters”), and research, research, research.

I can’t help but admire her dedication and determination.

She earned the money needed to both purchase and care for said dairy goat. She selected her breed. She continued her assault.

And, Lord help us, we caved.

This is why if you were traveling on I15 this past weekend and happened to see a strange lady and daughter in a rental car milking a goat on the side of the road… you know it was us.

In the middle of all of this the kid got as sick as I’ve ever seen her. I still don’t know what was wrong with her – but something caused a fever, congestion, coughing, and general ick. We have been a generally healthy crew, so this was a big bummer, especially on the road trip of her life!

Friends, we milked the goat in the parking lot of the FourSquare Church in Battle Mountain, NV. We fed the baby in the same parking lot and we offered our hallelujahs up for safe travels and these silly little things.

Bottle feeding in the church parking lot.

I can also tell you with authority the goats like country music. (They sang along with George Strait.)

Now we are home and working milking a goat into our regular schedule of life. Frankie is the milking doe and Astrid is the baby who will grow. We have plans to get a buckling soon… and that, my friends, is the beginning of our Golden Guernsey Goat dynasty!

Look at all that milky goodness!
I admit it. I love baby goat noses. Even if this particular one is a little grubby, they’re my favorite ever.
It’s 7 a.m. and the goats are calling. So, I don my work boots, sweat pants, and pj top over the top of my nightgown to go get it done. You’ll notice I’m not showing a photo of my hair.

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The Next Stitch

I’ve picked up a new habit this year: crochet.


(You should know that I’m wearing hand-me-down pajamas from my 93-year-old great aunt as I type the word crochet. I feel this is significant because prior to acquiring this new habit I believed that crochet was for little old ladies preparing their goods for the Christmas bazaar.)


I can’t quite say why I picked up crochet except that it met some of my criteria for crafting consideration: A) It has a useful purpose when complete, B) It has great potential for creative expression, C) It has NOTHING TO DO WITH GLITTER. I chose this Mixed Stripey Blanket because the colors made me happy and the stitches change frequently enough I don’t get bored. I also chose to pick up a crafty because a few months ago I discovered my blood pressure numbers were on scales typically reserved for pressure cookers and the air tool used to tighten tires to vehicles. Getting a hobby that offered bi-lateral stimulation was suggested as a way to enact lifestyle changes. (I also gave up coffee and soda. I haven’t recovered from that choice yet.)


Every morning I wake up with the birds and sneak out into the living room to play with yarn. I have begun to crave the rhythm of the stitches, the way the yarn slides through my fingers, the quiet of our house before the rest of my family wakes up.


Lately, though, I’ve been trying to understand the complexity of the stitches. I only recently realized that each crochet stitch is actually a knot! I have been to a nautical museum and admired sailors knots and known I have no skill to make those. I have looked at barbed-wired artistry and considered the making of it well beyond my pay grade. I have groaned out loud to undo knots in pant waistbands, soccer cleats, and necklaces. Knots have not been my favorite. At all.


But as I have crocheted along I am recognizing that the way I grab string, twist it, and place it has been able to create a crazy, beautiful diversity. I’m starting to see the joy in knots… and the way each stitch is used to create a larger tapestry of a the story of the blanket.


This morning, as I stitched along, I asked myself if this whole crochet business had a way to be related to anything larger than a blanket. If it might, perchance, be an illustration for gleaning a life lesson. And I realized the answer is YES.


I have the ability, with my attitude, to choose the color of the day just like I can choose the color of my blanket. I have the ability, with my daily actions, to work to create a knot/memory that is within the pattern of principles I’ve adopted for my personal values. I am not required to continue with the exact same stitches forever – but I do need to recognize the importance of the stitches that came prior because they give me something to build upon, they taught me how to move forward, and the very mechanics of the stitch (how tightly I hold the yarn, what size of crochet hook I use, etc.) have created something that is individual and precious.


Hand crafted.


My life is hand crafted, just like this crochet blanket. There are no short cuts. The flaws make it more valuable and are proof it’s not machine made.

You know what else I realized this morning? Look into the background of this photo – do you see the random strings of ends that haven’t been dealt with? The slop of the yarn as it waits to be twisted? It’s a hot mess back there and sometimes I look at it and groan. But you know what else? It can and will be dealt with in the proper time. Right now the only thing I can manage this moment is the next stitch.


No more. No less. Just the next stitch. That’s what’s on my plate right now and that’s all I have to accomplish.


As we start this new year, I hope that you are building a life with a beautiful tapestry and that as you place the next stitch you are at peace. You’re creating a hand crafted masterpiece.


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Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

Things I’ve Googled Lately

My brain works like hummingbird wings. How about yours?!

In light of my browser tab issues, I’ve been trying to close tabs to make my computer feel good about it’s processing capacity again. I’ve been reintrigued with soooo many topics!


Here are a few of the highlights of the Google adventures lately (and yes, this is literally how my brain works. I can’t be the only one with questions zipping like hummingbirds through my brain – can I?!):


yellowstone with family

folding cotsCamping with Families

how to make rabbit tea

benefits of rabbit manure

Is MeWe a viable alternative to Facebook

taco bell menu

Will Smith Graham Norton Carlton

make a Bagpipe out of a garbage bag

Mexican Hot Chocolate Slow Cooker Recipe

What is patchouli used for

what is the subjunctive mood

you’re fired bugs life gif

glass luncheon plates

bump underside chin

mission tortillas on sale near me

wisdom and righteousness lapbooks

name of feather duster in beauty and the beast

dvorak serenade for strings 4th movement

where is prague

fly predators

when did marco polo live

what happened to barrabas after he was released

magic 8 ball answers

where is the book of the acts of solomon

what is vaguebooking

how to make an origami bunny from a dollar

april the giraffe animal adventure park


What have you been searching for lately?


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Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

Too Many Tabs

My computer has been having a break down. It starts exhibiting the rainbow wheel of death and then huffing and puffing at me with its fan and generally giving me the idea that I have royally ticked it off in some mystical manner.


I approached my resident computer expert, Lizard. Explained the situation. He happily walked over to my computer. Took a look. Reeled back from the computer as though it were a snake about to strike, and said, in a voice laden with accusation and incredulity, “Just how many tabs do you actually need open at one time?!”


I don’t have an answer for that because in this arena, need is a relative term. What I can say is that Pinterest was made for me when I believed it was a simple way to just keep track of interesting items or research topics. But now the super-cool folks have taken it over and when I visit Pinterest it’s always an attempt to learn how to do something in a way that’s way more creative than I can manage on my own or as a mental tool to confirm how woefully lacking I am as a mother/human being. Pinterest and I are really not friends.


So my next plan of attack is to right-click open all things. It works wonderfully! See a link you want to explore more later? Right click open a new tab. Researching for that road trip? Create a tab for each leg of the journey with a new tab. The possibilities are endless!


Then I began to notice a slight slowing of the loading speed of my web pages and thought, “Self, perhaps having 30+ tabs open in one browser window is confusing. You can’t really see the headings of the pages. This makes it difficult to navigate. Perhaps this is the reason the pages are loading slowly. Let us create a browser window for each topic of inquiry of the world wide webs.” And thus it was accomplished and for a time all things continued with purpose and speed.


Which leads me to my current issue. After Lizard acted so shocked, I decided to take stock of my computer habits. I currently have six browser windows up on my computer, and they have no less than five tabs open each (some… um…. significantly more…). It appears I’m going to have to channel my avenues of inquiry or face the disgruntled noises of my computer forever. Sigh.


How do you manage your computer tabs? Any hints for me?

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Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

Top 10 Games for Family Nights

The best free dinner game ever!

This morning I’ve already been exploring blogs on how people quit television time cold turkey. We tend to watch Netflixs or Amazon on a daily basis around here. Granted, the shows are typically educational but even so I am fully aware of the research being done that shows the negative impact of tv time. In fact, we’ve started telling the kids that the tv is making their brains rot and when they ask for more, we sniff their ears and holler, “Ewww! Stinky rotting brain!” just to make an impression.


One of the most consistent recommendations I’m seeing from folks that have quit tv is to replace it with something else, like Board Game Night or Family Walk or Bowling Night, etc. I’m trying to practically fit these ideas into our life.


We do have games to play and we enjoy them. But they aren’t all easy to do with the span of ages we have in our home – almost-5, 7, 9, 11 and eh-hem 40×2. Here are some favorites that are working for us right now… but do you have any recommendations? (All of these links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase them from this blog post, you’ll be supporting me with a fraction of the purchase price – at no cost to you! Thank you!)

1. Tenzi. Oh man, this is a winning game for us! We’ve been able to play it for the last year, so we can vouch it’s pretty good for ages 4 and up.

2. Monopoly. The tried and true classic – still a winner around here. The girls have been playing it for about two years, which means it’s good for probably ages 5 and up. Bubby is still bored out of his skull and not at all interested in playing.

3. Suspend. This game is fun for all of the kids, and it has the bonus benefit of being able to be used as a review game for Classical Conversations (just assign the colored tips a subject and then when they roll it, ask a review question they have to get right before they place the piece.)


4. Timeline. OK, OK, the kids are kind of stinky at this game. But they’re not bad thanks to the history component of their schoolwork. The parents, though, we LOVE this game!


5. Kerplunk. Bubby (the 4 year old) loves this game. So much so that he steals the marbles and hides them in his pockets and then I find them in the washing machine later and shake my hands in the air.

6. Apples to Apples Big Picture. This game has brought us many evenings of laughter! The photos are so funny and the kids are expanding their vocabulary as they go.


7. Battleship. Tried and true. Really only our older girls are liking it, and I kind of groan when it comes out because all of those pegs never seem to make it bad in their entirety to the box. But it’s fun enough.


8. Uno Attack. Regular Uno is fun, but Uno Explode adds an element of surprise to the adventure that can’t be replicated. We’ve ended up taking all of our Uno cards from various games and putting them in the Attack.

9. Telestrations. This one is really for grown ups and works best in a group. We did it at a homeschooling retreat where no one knew each other exceedingly well and it was hilariously fun.

10. Story Cubes. These suckers stay in my purse for when we go to restaurants. It’s really fun – the kids usually only roll three die at a time when we are at restaurants, then make up their stories from there. (Just one set is what I carry in my purse, but this link shows you all six sets available in a bundle… and mixing and matching is allowed!)

Bonus: Probably our favorite pastime during dinner is the Jar of Questions. We received this as a Christmas gift from a good friend three years ago and still love it to bits now. You can make your own easily – and here is the blog with links to the questions and template so you can print it for yourself for free: Family Conversation Starters. Really… this one is amazing!


What are the games you play in your family? Have you successfully quit television? How did you do it? I’d love your advice and feedback!


** Just as an update, believe it or not, that soccer team I wrote about last time that had never even won a game… won the entire tournament yesterday! Unbelievable and super exciting for them! I think it will be really interesting to see how their “I’m just not competitive” attitude withstands the experience of actually winning and coming in on top? I’ll keep you posted!



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Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

Soccer Resilience

It’s a late night over here as we just arrived home from a soccer tournament. During the drive home I literally began to envision the taillights of the cars in front of me as Minnie Mouse heads with red bows around the ears.


That’s the way my brain works.


Lizard has been coaching a club team for soccer this year, which means that once a month we travel to a tournament. His team has great kiddos on it, but, bless their hearts, they just aren’t that competitive. Like… hm… if the team attitude were to be a simile, the kids are like a dog that rolls over and offers easy access to the jugular upon meeting anyone new.


For Lizard, who tends to be significantly competitive, this has been a coaching challenge. He recognizes that he can’t play the game for them, and that he has to just keep casting the vision and look for the victories that occur with a great pass or strong defense and pretty much ignore the final score of the game. In all of their games this year, they have never won and mostly they have been trounced.


Until today.


The early game was a tie and then, my friends, the evening game was a win!


Everyone was super excited for the players but then afterward we learned that for some of these kids, it was their first win… ever. They all have been playing soccer for a number of years before they ended up on this club team. But they had never, ever won a game.


This knowledge puts a whole different spin on the idea of team soccer for me. To be honest, if I spent years attending practices, dragging my family to tournaments, etc. and we never, ever won, I would quit. I would say, “Enough is enough!” and make comments about discretion being the better part of valor and take my soccer shoes and shin guards home to hide in the dark recesses of my closet.


However, these kids have figured out life a little better than I have so far. Day in and day out they chose to live with the defeat but still show up the next day to practice, still make the commitment to appear and put in effort.


It puts a new facet on the word resilience for me. Yes, the kids are fairly non-competitive in personality, but my esteem for them has raised even higher today as I recognized how resilient they are to keep on keepin’ on. There’s such beauty in being willing to do something even if you’re not the best person who’s ever tried to do that thing.


Our team is resilient. That knowledge makes the good time even sweeter.

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Copyright © 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

The Dead Stuff is Disappearing

This has changed my life forever.

My heavens, friends… Let me share something that has changed my life.


Swiffer Dusters.




I’ve never been a fan of dusting. It seems like the whole purpose of dusting is just to suck joy out of your life one dust mote at a time. As a kid I remember dusting sporadically, and it caused me to sneeze, which wasn’t enjoyable because one thing I inherited from my dad was the ability to sneeze at volume similar to a sonic boom (and it’s literally thrown my back out before during allergy season).


To make matters worse, as an adult I learned that the majority of dust in your house is actually dead skin cells just floating through the air. Ewww! After learning that, dusting seemed like a way to have a close encounter with a dead essence and so I’ve felt pretty secure in my decision to avoid dusting until there’s enough built up to actually create mud when dampened. (Lets not even talk about the layer of nastiness that exists on the ceiling fans. I’m pretty sure crickets could use the dust babies on the fan blades as a snowboarding play area.)


However, it’s come to my attention that Grown Ups Dust Their Homes. (At least a little.) And though I’ve found that most things grown up seem to be not nearly so much fun as I thought they would be when I was a kid (except eating. I find that the best part of being a grown up is getting to choose what food I eat, when, and where…) I do attempt to act with maturity on occasion.


Which brings me to the dusting conundrum.


We have dust. Lots of it. And I want to live in a clean house. At least a little.


I did some research on the dusting problem and the Google took me to blogs that told me that dusting really doesn’t have to be a swishing of dirt from one locale to another accompanied with sneezes that could shake the rafters. They told me that Swiffer Dusters are statically treated and actually trap the dust on the cloth.


I didn’t believe them. This is crazy talk. But when I saw them at my local bulk warehouse I decided the initial financial investment was small enough to at least give it an attempt, even if it ended up a total failure.


Oh. My. Heavens. {I need a moment to compose myself before I go on. Don’t worry, give me a minute and I’ll just breath through the emotion.}


They work. These little suckers work. They trap the dust, keep it out of my nose and from falling to the floor. They work!


I’ve dusted the computer. The printer. Every picture frame, the window sills, the venetian blinds, the front of my cabinets in the little ridge that looks pretty from a distance but kind of gross from far away… I’ve dusted the light fixtures, the top of the mantle, and the wrought iron ivy leaf wall hanging that hasn’t been cleaned since it was hung. I dusted the potted plant leaves and then, feeling terribly courageous… I dusted the ceiling fans.


It worked!


This has literally changed my life. Now granted, the fluffing up of the swiffer deal and sticking it on the handle did make me feel a little like I was getting inappropriate with Babette from Beauty and the Beast, but I got over my inhibitions once I saw the glorious cleanliness emerging behind the fluffy wonderfulness.


It was so exciting I called my mother. She was suitably impressed that I was willingly dusting for the first time in my life and seems to feel like she might like visiting our house a little more, now that there aren’t floating dead skin cells all over the place.


So there you have it. My current obsession and victory. If you want to be like me, feel free to scoot on over, order this sucker, and try it for yourself.

Swiffer Dusters Handle and Refills Unscented, 24 Count


And that’s all I have to say about that.

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