We made it to Summer break!

Monday, May 20, 2024

 Happy Summer! If you're just finding your way to my page, allow me to fill you in a bit. I have five children and homeschooled them for five years. In that time, we moved from Tennessee to Colorado and back again. There were very hard times, but I couldn't imagine the kids being anywhere but with me. There were certainly some failures on my part as I battled a deep depression and found it difficult to stay on task. But that is life...real life...and my children got to see that it's not always perfect. We went on epic adventures, joined hiking and reading homeschool groups, took music lessons in the middle of the day, and attended classes with adults where my kids learned that their opinions and ideas had value and they could talk to anyone. I do not regret a day I had with them not in a traditional school. There were other consequences too, though.

When we came home, I felt completely overwhelmed and drained and uninspired and I knew I needed help with the kids. I began thinking about school for them and decided the local public school I spent two years at was the best place for them. I knew much of the staff- my brother works there, my aunt, one of my mom's best friends. I walked forward in faith that they would help make the transition easier for each of them. I struggled with my own ideas of school because I had spent the last five to six years attending homeschooling conferences, listening to podcasts, and reading books that developed in me the idea that our kids are whole persons who we GET to learn about and discover. I didn't want for them a mainstream education and I didn't care if they looked or acted like their peers. I continue to try and instill in them that it's okay to not go along with the crowd. I don't like to rock the boat either, but I think I've shown them that I will go against the grain when I am passionate about something. I hope they will, too. Anyway, August rolled around and they started school for the first time- prek 3, 1st, 4th,5th, and 6th grades!

I quickly realized I had to let go of some guilt I felt for them having to adjust to the social aspects of school and some of the academics that were new to them. To put it into perspective, I had one kid who thought it was so crazy he had to write his full name on the work he was doing. I had another who started always asking if she could go to the bathroom at home since she was having to ask at school. I had another who had a spelling test on the first week of school. She had never spelled a day in her life and had no clue what a test was. She said simply and confidently that she didn't do spelling tests. I can giggle at it now, but at the time I felt very overwhelmed by all these small issues that felt big to me and enormous to them. I began to tell them every morning at drop off-

"I do not care about your grades. I care about your effort. I want you to be kind to yourself and others. That's all that matters."

They've grown so much in the last school year. I kept telling them that if they could just make it to Christmas we would reassess. Then when they made it, I encouraged them to push to summer. Most of them took to school well and wanted to go. Here we are now- summer break. We made it! I'm very proud of who they are becoming and I look forward to taking over again for the summer at least. I don't know what the future holds, but we are celebrating the growth we've seen in us all.

Here's a last day photo for you!

Can you make no use of your discontent?

Thursday, December 21, 2023

I have on my pink winter socks. My feet are propped up on a coffee table in a room that I didn't even own this time last year. I can look beyond the computer screen and see seven blue and green knit stockings hung beside my fireplace. Seven. There have been several times over the last few years that I wondered if that would ever be. It feels like a Christmas miracle that we're even here together trying to create a place of rest in my hometown amid a chaotic, messy, beautiful life. This year was hard, the year before it was hard, and the holidays can be a difficult reminder of some of the hurts we carry around. Thinking back to last Christmas, I was barely dragging my one hundred pounds out of bed. Barely eating, wasting away but trying to smile for the camera and pretend as we do. I was very depressed and not for the first time in my life. I had decided to come home from Colorado and reground. I needed help and the only place I felt I could turn to was the comfort of Tennessee, my family and friends, and the community I grew up in that maybe, just maybe I could send the kids to public school in. It was a scary thought. Much of my identity was tied up in titles or others over the years. Military spouse. Mrs. Stay at Home Mom. Special Needs Mom. Adoptive Mom. Homeschool Mom. Looking back, I wish I could tell the twenty something year old Kacy so much. Towards the top of that list would be to "know thyself" without letting others, circumstances, or traumas shape my thoughts on who I am. Now, I understand it's the God of the Universe who tells me who I am and I was created in His image. I lack nothing. He doesn't look at me and see my mistakes and shortcomings and He never, ever leaves. I felt forgotten, though in so many ways. This past year has woven in me a kindness and grace towards myself that I've never allowed before. I'm not pretending or hiding anymore. You know us homeschool mamas like teaching Shakespeare, right? Well, I've really been pondering over the last few months the quote from Much Ado About Nothing...

"...let me be that I am and seek not to alter me. Can you make no use of your discontent? I make all use of it for I use it only."

There have been so many books, podcasts, prayers, vent sessions, therapy appointments, medicines, and sermons I've consumed on the idea of happiness over the years. But when I read the above - Can you make no use of your discontent- those words stuck. So I've been given a lot of hard. I'm still here. What am I going to do with it? The thought was healing. Freeing. 

This cold Christmas, I'm focused on enduring, creating, loving, living, and worrying less about what wasn't perfect about my life before or now. The picture of Christmas I'm focused on today is the example of Jesus, born into humanity, willing to walk through this scary world bearing all our hardships and sin because of Love. I'm not in relationship with a god who sits on an unreachable throne. I'm in relationship with a God who is approachable, loving, all-knowing, and so much more. He knows me and yet loves me. 

Joy to the world.

And Heaven and Nature (and Kacy) sing.

Repeat the sounding joy.

This year is different. I have a warm and cheery home although still wild and loud. The kids are on break from school- we made it to Christmas which is all I asked of them when I finally decided to enroll them. We did it, kids! Jordan has a job closer to home now and it allows him much more time to be around. We are adjusting to this big family squeezed into a small house that we've transformed room by room and we're trusting Him to do the same with our hearts- opening doors, airing out the hurts in each dark room, and reminding us He is with us in each one.  

Happy Christmas to you all.

It's going to be okay-

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

 I'm sitting in my wicker chair that I scored for super cheap second hand, the cushions are old but in good shape and I have the perfect writing desk pulled up in my lap from my mother. Today was a hard day. I grow incredibly tired of pretending otherwise. My kids spend their days away from me and they've never really done that. I love it and it's hard. As a (hopefully) recovering people pleaser, it's difficult.

 In the past year, my children have studied the ancestral Pueblo people through books and talks and visiting Mesa Verde National Park, hiking around and viewing the old community sites. They've copied passages from Shakespeare into their writing collections like "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts." They've had slow mornings gathered around fires and feasts viewing and identifying and studying classical art. They've committed scripture to memory like "A friend loves at all times" and "No one is righteous, not even one". They've stargazed in the deserts of Utah and looked at constellations with adults and posed questions I would've never thought of raising my hand to ask. They've carried conversations in outdoor classrooms with adults over the ponderings of Big Foot in the forests of Colorado. They have camped in Wyoming and hiked through the Grand Tetons. They climbed 14ers. They watched elk cross our roads, shoveled snow for physical fitness and learned to be a contributing part of a family, and they welcomed and helped care for a little girl whose culture and upbringing and home was completely foreign to them. They joined in celebrating and appreciating her culture through festivals, foods, art, and love for her. They visited Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and dozens of trails throughout the West. They read books, so many good books. We didn't avoid the hard topics either. We read about the atrocities committed against Native Americans, the Black community, and more. We spent time in museums visiting dinosaur remains and learning about old mining communities. 

I wouldn't change it for anything. Let me say it louder for myself, I WOULD'T CHANGE ANYTHING.

But they do not know how to divide decimals. They don't even know to write their last names on their homework or ask to go to the bathroom. They only recently learned a grading system of A, B, C, D, F and they all have taken their first tests in the last three weeks they've joined the public school. Their worlds have completely changed and it's hard not to feel responsible for all of the struggle as of late.

I know in my heart that I've given them a great gift over these years at home with me. Evidenced tonight as I tried to help one of them study for a quiz tomorrow-

Him: "Mom, I don't want you to worry. You should know that I don't care if I make an F minus. I'm okay with that."


Gah, I love that kid. Somehow, miraculously, he has the confidence I lack. He is wise for his years (all my boys are) and he can't be bothered by what the rest of the world is doing. He's giving it his best effort and he's comfortable with it. He teaches me every day.

Our lives have been upturned (again) and I regret nothing. They are learning at their own pace and building relationships in the process. The community I sought is ever present now and I do feel like we're all going to be okay. The bible talks about a royal priesthood...not a royal priest. We live and work together. I'm not lonely on a mountain anymore. I have people who will gladly help. I need it in this season.

My children have learned vastly different lessons over the years than most kids their age. This period of adjustment is challenging, but it's a blessing to us, too. I appreciate all who help us navigate a new culture of schooling. Thank you for your patience!

As for me, I will continue to let some control go and give it to God (and their teachers). I can't carry it all and I know my children will rise to the occasion and develop valuable characteristics like personal responsibility, perseverance, hard work, and emotional intelligence. Together. we are all learning just as I purposed to do five years ago. It's going to be okay. 

A year ago, I wrote this - so these yearnings have been brewing for a long time. I felt upset earlier thinking about how I wish I could go back to last August of 2022 and drive on home when I knew. Or how I should have put them in school in January when I eventually did. As the day wore on though I remembered how I would never wish my time away with them. The hard times built us. The hard times are building us.

Julian of Norwich put it this way-

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

Clinging to that.

How's public school going?

Saturday, August 12, 2023

 How's it going? I've heard this question a lot lately so I thought I'd answer it in writing since I'm snuggled up in bed on this rainy evening with a carton of ice cream. The transition of my five wild and free homeschoolers to public school has been a fun one. Their first full week is done and I'm proud of how they're adjusting. I have really struggled, though. I've spent my last five years with a slowing down mindset. I've taught my children naturally as they were ready. We weren't on a time crunch and we didn't keep up with the Joneses nor did we even know the Joneses. We haven't bothered with tests or grade levels. Our school was our home, not our school, if that makes sense. With the stressors we've faced lately, I found myself wanting help and I'm so glad I have it now. It has just been hard on me to release the reins to someone else. I love them more than anyone could so I knew they were safe with me. It's hard to send five kids off to be taught by someone else the majority of the day and not worry about their wellbeing. I've told them all every day at drop off that the only thing they can control is themselves. Their attitude, their kindness to themselves and others- that's what I care about. No test or grade can define them. If they try and are kind in the midst of hardship, that's all that matters to me. I do mean that and I've loved hearing about their days when they come home from school. They have so many stories and I think they're making many new friends. There have been challenges and there will continue to be as we try to find the right approach and grade level for each child so some gaps can be filled in over time. The school has been so great working with us. I know it's a lot to suddenly have several new students who haven't spent time in a classroom setting so I appreciate the grace we've been shown by the teachers and staff.

If you are praying for us, here are some specific requests-

*Please pray for Saylor and her confidence as she makes another big change on Monday

*And pray for my mama heart that I can relax a bit and not worry about them constantly

Thank you, friends.

Saved by the bell

Monday, July 24, 2023

 Five years. That's how long we've been at this homeschool lifestyle. I remember back in 2018 how wrought with stress and fear I was when I was trying to make the decision to go against the grain and try something new. I've felt the same sort of feelings this year, too as I tried to make decisions about the five students under my roof. Both times I've felt relief when I finally decided- enormous relief. With that being said, I've decided to retire.

The kids are entering the public school system this year and we are quite excited.

Looking back on the last five years, I'm flooded with so many good memories-

- Studying scripture, art, classical music, and literature gathered around our fireplace

- Hiking around America seeing scenes and talking to locals that many people save up their whole lives to be able to visit

-Teaching my kids to read and think and discuss

-Watching as they took ideas and bounced them around in their own heads, molding them and making them their own

There have been so many benefits that we've enjoyed over the years. I wouldn't change a single thing about my decision to learn alongside my kids at home. It was a great blessing.

But it wasn't without its challenges. Moving across the country, leaving our support system, and adopting rocked me to my core and I found myself struggling to blend schedules, focus on my individual kids, and carry the burdens of life lest they fall down on them. This past year has been a trial- a long, hard war that isn't resolved and I started imaging what it would be like to have more help with their education. I always said I would take it year by year and assess to see if it was still working for us. I decided it's not working right now and that's okay. I don't feel like I've failed. I feel like I've won because if I'm being honest, I value all the time I've poured into them. I haven't done a lot right in my life, but these kids are my world and I've done the very best I could do with them in our home and school. I've built in storages of hours outside together, hours reading aloud, and so much time for snuggling on the couch when someone was under the weather. Being their mother and teacher has been an honor and a privilege. 

It's difficult to not make a role in my life my entire personality or identity. In the past, I've gone all in with being married to the military, being a special needs mom, a homemaker, a homeschool mama, an adoptive mama. I don't fear reinventing myself. I can do hard things. 

And I think the kids are ready.

If you see them in the hallways or classrooms, I hope you'll offer up a smile or some encouragement. I pray for lots of grace for all of us during this transition. They don't often have to ask to go to the bathroom or wait for designated eating hours. They've done math problems upside down or swinging from the trees for years and have little experience sitting for long periods of time at a desk. They are thick as thieves together and it will be strange for them not to have their siblings beside them. They aren't used to performance based learning as our studies have mostly been learning by doing or reading and discussing in depth. It's my prayer that each of them will rise to the occasion and demonstrate hard work and kindness during this period of adjustment. As one of my favorite homeschooling mamas wrote, "Our children are not personal projects to prove our competence to outsiders" and I'm going to gently remind myself of that each day. These children are whole persons already and I'm just here to discover who they are becoming and guide them as I can. They are their own people though- independent, wild and free. I hope they have a foundation that reminds them of their great worth and what is really important in life.

I hear the bell ringing and it's time to go back to school. Saved by the bell!

We appreciate your prayers.

Go Slay All the Dragons That Stand in Your Way

Friday, August 26, 2022


Feels like old times sitting down to a laptop, a cup of coffee, and a chill in the air. I started blogging when we lived in Alaska and I was by myself a lot. The darkness felt constant in the winter with the sun not even fully rising around 10am and horizontally moving a bit before it dipped right back down before 2pm. I've known isolation before. I've known lonely. Jordan was away from our little cabin in the woods a lot in those days. It was just me and some dogs (and the moose that visited our yard weekly). 

Recently, I told some friends that I googled "midlife crisis" and while it's a bit funny, it's also true. A few weeks ago when school was starting up in Tennessee, I was at such a low point that I was trying to determine how fast I could drive home with the kids and enroll them back in their public school they attended years ago. There was a picture that popped up in my memories lately that was of my sister, my best friend, and me plus all our little babies walking into the school to sign the oldest kids in for pre-k. I remember wishing that I could just drop off like all the other students instead of unbuckling my four kids under six and maneuvering across traffic to get them in, but every day I saw my sister, my bestie, my nephews and niece, and a whole host of people who were truly for my children as I walked inside. I had help. I had community. People did life with me. It's hard to re-create that when we move somewhere new. In the military, we had built in community. It's small enough that we almost always knew someone else that was stationed at the same place. If not, we were in similar circumstances with new folks and could jump right into friendships because we all knew the value of time.

This mountain we're on now looks beautiful from your point of view because you see what I share. I share the lovely- the pictures of freshly fallen snow, brilliant wildflowers, the Snow White- like yard where deer come up to our deck daily,  National Parks people wait their whole lives to be able to see, etc. I don't show when I can't drag myself from the bed because I miss my people. I don't show how the house falls into disarray because I'm trying to balance motherhood, homeschooling, marriage, fitness, attending the largest laundry mountain you've ever seen, and all the other things that I try to manage. The mountain can be isolating, though and sometimes this beautiful gift we've been given to live in the Rockies feels more like a prison. I don't share that because even reading the sentence back in my head feels icky. We GET to do this.

I'm writing all this out so you know- life isn't perfect for anyone. In the past, people have shared with me that they don't like who I portray online. I can't really help that. I don't pretend to be perfect or have the perfect life, but I do share what I think will make you smile when you see it. It's hard to listen to someone complain all the time and that's not what I want to see or share when I pick up my phone.
Instead of a midlife crisis that I'm going to try really hard not to have (ha!), I've determined that perhaps I just feel unmotivated. I've always done something every year or been working toward something big every year and I don't have that right now. One year it was- "I'm going to start homeschooling!" Or "I'm going to run a marathon!" And another and another. Then, I was so focused on the adoption. Now that everyone is under one roof, I feel unfocused on something/anything I can do for me and my mental health. I know this is just a stage and it's quite likely I would've been bored in Tennessee right now, too. The beauty of this stage and the value of life-long learning that we're trying to instill in our kids is that we have time right now to learn something new, to explore places we've never been, and develop the mental grit it takes to get through difficult times. The freedom I feel in that grounds me. Whether it's getting through deployments, navigating life with kids who have extra needs, moving for the millionth time, completing an international adoption, or figuring out life with five children- it's going to be okay. Life is still good. Hard but not without hope. 
"Take a few chances, a few worthy romances
Go swimming in the ocean, on New Year's Day
Don't listen to the critics
Stand up and bear witness
Go slay all the dragons that stand in your way"
(-Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors)

Your school choice is not a moral one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The aspen leaves are twinkling as they do with the slight breeze that's blowing my hair and the sun shield I'm sitting underneath. The mountain is warm today. I woke up around seven a.m. having pre arranged the coffee to start with the push of a button, making it easier to head straight to the front porch to enjoy my morning sugar and beans. The baby slept in a bit so after my coffee I decided it was late enough in the morning to go out for a run. I try to avoid early mornings and evenings because of the mountain lions and more recently we've had bear activity so I've stayed closer to home. It was a quick run, but it gave me about twenty minutes to think and what I was thinking about was school choice, of all things.

I'm not entirely shy about discussing how difficult this transition to Colorado has been for me. My aim is to be positive with the opportunities we've been given, but I told my husband last week that I just want something easy for once. Easy is the comfort of our Tennessee roots to me. Not only did we grow up there, we've spent the last seven and a half years there. I knew what to expect. I knew who I could call on on dark days. I had therapies and doctors in order there. I had a homeschool community.

It's different here and when I tearily explained to my mom last week, 'I just need some help', she didn't chastise me for homeschooling in the first place OR discourage public schooling. She just listened and said she was supportive in whatever I would choose for our family. That is so incredibly rare to hear. I have a few friends that I can talk to about it and they reiterate that sentiment, too, both public school teachers & parents, private school parents, and fellow homeschooling mamas.

The thing is, we all bring our personal experiences and opinions to the table and some people feel so strongly one way or another that they can't help but spout off what they think. On the flip side, we can hold so strongly to those convictions, we can begin to think the other side is doing it wrong.

I'm just here to say that your school choice is not a moral one. 

There are a million different ways to live your life and a million different ways to be a good mother. Your freedom to choose what is best for your child and family is one you should exercise. It's easy for me to look at all the back to school photos posted online today and think that perhaps my children could be missing out on some rite of passage. I'm sure it's equally easy for some of you to see all of our adventures together and your mind will go to all the time you feel you might be missing with having them at school. Let's stop comparing!

I firmly believe that most of us are doing the best we can and operating from that viewpoint, we're choosing the best route for our own children and their education. As for my family, we take it year by year. We ask ourselves, is this still working? What do the kids prefer? What can we eliminate? What can we add?

Bad days are okay. You might want to assess the number of bad days you (or your child) is having, but don't dwell on them if there are more good ones than bad. Take notes. You're allowed to not have it all together all the time.

You're probably a good mom if your kids are being homeschooled. You're probably a good mom if you choose to send them to public school or private school. You are making the best choice for your kids even if it's hard! Give yourself some grace. 

Just like you can't bank on your morality with the clothes you choose to wear, the food you prepare, and the cleanliness of your home- you also can't align yourself with one school of choice and believe you are better for it. You're a good mom when you look at the needs of your children and rise to meet them in whatever capacity they might come in.

Happy Back-to-School, Mamas! You've got this.

Children in a Garden

Sunday, February 13, 2022


Yesterday. the seven of us got tickets to the Denver Art Museum to see the Whistler to Cassatt exhibit. The kids and I have studied Mary Cassatt for years and it was profound to encounter these works of art in person together. How magnificent to see something so beautiful that has withstood the test of time!

The piece above is entitled Children in a Garden (The Nurse). As we were meandering through the rooms of art, Jordan stopped at this one and said, "This reminds me of you." I looked at the woman and I looked at me, standing there with a baby in my arms and four children gathered around me as I pushed an empty stroller and reminded everyone to please whisper when they have something to add. 

I didn't want to see myself in this frumpy woman at first. 

You see, Mary Cassatt's later work largely focused on finding beauty in every day scenes, some that many found mundane. During her Impressionist days, she painted what was considered more sophisticated scenes like the opera. In her later art, she looked for women to paint who were considered plain and sometimes even unattractive. She sought out the beauty of the ordinary and painted them with grace.

Being compared to a subject in Mary Cassatt's collection initially wasn't the best compliment just a few days before Valentine's Day! But as I walked around admiring the works of a woman who was going against the grain of popular art and using her brush strokes to highlight a mostly unseen group of ordinary women (like me!), I found the love behind Jordan's sentiment. Here, is a woman, tending to children outside. I see her knitting or mending perhaps. She's making an effort to take care of the people and responsibilities she's entrusted with yet she's taking time to enjoy the colors around her and prioritizing curiosity, rest, play, and time out of doors for the children, too.

The comparison is a sweet reminder that I don't have to be polished. I don't need to be peoples' cup of tea. There's something lovely in this quiet life here at home with my family. Beauty in the ordinary.

I hope you dance

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Have you ever seen those little images people share with small children, arms outstretched to the sky with a joyful smile on their face even though it's raining? It probably says something like "I hope you dance" or "Always take time to dance in the rain." Sometimes they're cheesy and sweet, but people post them with abandon. I wonder if they believe those words.

 An unpopular opinion I hold is that it's okay to romanticize your life from time to time. Smile if you can.

You're knee deep in diapers and snot, but you know you want to remember those toothless little grins or funny way they pronounce a word so you open up your camera and start recording, pushing the trash bag out of the frame and adding a sappy song for extra effect. I'm not mad about it.

Say you plan a huge family trip, but everyone is fighting on the way there and then you get burnt. It's not at all relaxing and there's more drama than anything, but what you want to remember is that one moment on the beach when the wind was in your hair, the kids were giggling, and you felt like God Himself was walking along side you as your family played in the crashing waves and took the best keepsake photo that you'll display for years and years.

Maybe you're headed to church for the first time in a long time and you're flustered about how the kids are dressed, if their faces are clean, and how long it took you to find your bible, but when you get home your mood has changed and you share what you learned the hour you were away. That's okay.

There's a difference between people who want to portray their lives as perfect and those who want to pick out something positive from their week. There's a distinction there that I think is often missed. We are on social media for connection and friendship. I feel excited when my friends are excited. I look at your posts and if it's a good day for you, I'm happy for you. 

Unfortunately, that's not always the go-to for a lot of people. Go check out various threads of opinions and comments where someone posted something happy, someone else chimes in something hateful, correcting, combative, whatever and suddenly something that was supposed to be just nice or funny or lighthearted is now full-on debate. Ugh.

Some of my undergraduate work that piqued my interests fifteen years ago was how the Internet with its images and media was changing the way we thought about ourselves and others. For fifteen years, I've either researched, wrote, or gathered up experiences about this very topic and I don't like what I see. Oh, but here I am still plugging away at it, a true millennial.

This brings me to another unpopular opinion I have: If you (or your child!) isn't capable of understanding that every sentence read from social media isn't the whole truth then you (or your child!) is not ready for this medium. There's a lot of information and misinformation all over the Internet and when common sense, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence aren't developed there will be a lot of hurt feelings, feelings of inadequacy, misunderstanding, and offenses taken.

Why am I sharing all this on my homeschooling page? It's something I'm passionate about and I want my kids to learn as we share our days here at home. It's why they probably won't have access to any of this for years to come. They aren't ready. If so and so can't read between the lines of my posts and see a person with struggles like everyone else then my children surely can't either. The Internet is gray. Black and white is easier to your listening ear (or reading eyes), though. It's our nature to want to group someone quickly to decide what social rules or beliefs should be assigned to them and in turn how we should feel about them. I'm asking that you pause and hold off on those judgments.

I hope you have friends in real life who you can get to know deeply and want to know you deeply, too. I hope you talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly with them. But for those of your "friends" who you see as you scroll, I hope you give them grace. I hope you encourage. I hope you "like". And for the love, please take time to laugh or dance or whatever other cheesy quote that pops into your mind. Life is far too short to lose friends over something you read on their social media page.

And for those of you who feel like you're drowning most days, post those happy moments anyway. I'll be happy with you.

Maybe your children can still show you the unbound way they float about in the rain and the mud and laugh and dance despite it all. If it's not too late, I hope you dance, too.

Nobody's Darling

Thursday, October 21, 2021

 As the bacon sizzles in the oven and the eggs and waffles I've prepared begin to cool, I pause in the chaos of the morning and realize that I am living all that I want. The children are game-schooling near me and while the laughter and excited screaming will wake the dead, I have a peace that can only come from God. Bach's Mass in B Minor is playing above the children and I can't explain it, but it's therapy to me. I'm watching as my five year old, with her "super bedhead" as she calls it, raises her arms out and floats about the room to the music. The morning outside is overcast, but the aspens are still yellow through our large front windows and I know if I walk outside I'll need a sweater. We feel so cozy here, just us. Our family of six is awaiting news today that we are now seven and we just can't wait to add her to our nest up on this mountain.

Last month I attended the Wild + Free conference again and it didn't disappoint. Every year I leave feeling refreshed and ready to begin a new school year with my gaggle of students. It helps me remember what we're aiming for and that it's okay to march to the beat of a different drum. Heritage Mom Blog's Amber spoke to my heart so much with her talk about belonging. I could relate with her in that I'm a walking contradiction. Just before I turned on Bach, I saw the last few artists I listened to included Run-DMC, Tyler Childers, ZZ Top, Josh Baldwin, The Pirates Charles, and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors. I like to workout, but I adore really bad, unhealthy, and delicious foods. I talk about limited screen time, but on vacation we binge and those rules go out the window. We listen to classic literature in the car and we also have to grab the volume dial and turn down our music at some inappropriate parts lest the kids hear it and repeat it at the worst possible time. I believe in God, but not always the actions of the church. Amber talked about how she's allowed to like what she likes, promote what she cares about, and have differing views so much so that no one can seem to fit her in any type of box. She said she is nobody's darling. I felt much freedom in that statement. Lately, people have criticized everything I do or don't do. In the last few years of this pandemic, I've decided to let people keep any image of me they've created in their minds. I do not possess time to care about what others say or think about me. It has nothing to do with me. I'm nobody's darling, either.

Isn't homeschool that way, too? I know there are so many different ways of learning. The trick in schooling and in being a kind human is not to compare. Don't dwell in jealousy. Celebrate the differences and achievements of others. Just because I choose to live a certain way doesn't mean I think it's the only way. Just because you live a certain way doesn't mean I want that, too. This house on the hill, tucked away in the pines, is walking in the freedom of an alternate path- one that God himself orchestrated. The bible verse we're committing to memory this week is:

"You are the salt of the earth." Matthew 5:13a

And we intend to teach the children to be the flavor when the world is bland. We want them to preserve (as salt did) the characteristics of a life walking with Jesus. We wear what we want, listen to what we love, and collect experiences we are interested in. All of that weaves together into a culture all our own. In heaven I imagine people from all parts of the world, many skin tones, music lovers, writers, builders, conservatives, democrats, and all manner of people who follow God. The unique characteristics He placed in our hearts will only add to the flavor of eternity. We are HIS. We don't have to be anyone else's.

What Makes You Fragile?

Monday, June 21, 2021

My mama, the woman I inherited my love of writing from, gave me a book last year that is called "400 Writing Prompts". There are small thoughts or questions typed on every page and there's not a single thing written in it in response. I do pick it up often and flip through the questions and come here or there (microsoft word) and answer them. 

I've been writing a book lately. It seems that I start one every year and before too awful long, I capitulate and it begins to gather dust in the wastebasket of my home screen. I've started so many and finished none. It's too scary. I want to write something important because if not, I'm not sure what the point is. In the past this has meant that I must write something true, but lately I've started to remember how much fiction can mean to a reader, as well. 

Just today, the kids and I were reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri and I marveled with how well she had my children thinking of talking to God and how big truths like "He is always listening" can help them to navigate any problem that might arise. One of the kids said, "Heidi misses her grandfather and she's trying to be strong." And you know that I almost lost it right there. We, too, are far away from home and the people who make it home and while some days we learn to read just like Heidi and there is much that is exciting, we also gaze on fields of green and cows grazing and wonder just how our people are.

The prompt I found today was this: What makes you fragile? What makes me fragile? It's them.

I'm the Tennessee girl who moved to Alaska knowing no one and started a life. I'm the one who loves a haunted hotel and the idea of the unknown. I'd jump off any height, buckle into any roller coaster, and flirt with disaster at every turn. I'm the girl who decided to homeschool my kids when it went against basically everything I knew. I'm the woman who finished Master's classes in the delivery room at an Army hospital. It was me who stood in waiting rooms trusting my perfect boy in the hands of literal strangers as he struggled with infection after infection. My point is that I am brave. I was. Or I am.

My fragility comes when my kids are involved. I suddenly care so much more of my life because they're involved. Now, I find myself near panic attacks driving in a new city. I have to bite my lip to ensure I won't tell them to be careful on our weekly hikes. The thought of sending them down a snowy mountain on skis is akin to the fiery crash cartoons us eighties babies grew up with. I can't. I worry if they get too far ahead on their bikes when I'm running. Everything I do apart from them reminds me that one misstep and it could leave them without a mom. These are the thoughts that run through my head each time I do anything that strays from our norm.

But what makes me fragile is what makes me strong, too. 

I am the woman who juggled two babies under two while my husband served in the military. I am the one who fought for my second born when no one seemed to understand my God-given instinct that he needed help. I am the one who had three boys under three and battled depression and anxiety all the while. It was me who stood up every time and kept moving. I ran a freakin' marathon (or four) just to outrun my difficulties. My God propelled me.

What makes you fragile has the power to strengthen, too.

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whatever you're going through, keep going, friend. You are so much stronger than you realize. I will never discount all the problems that have left me fragile because I know that His power is made perfect in my weakness.


Students Together

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

We've been on a hiatus in more ways than one. For starters, I'm writing for the first time from a wobbly wooden ikea desk nestled against a beautiful backdrop of natural woods and my words aren't coming as freely as they used to. I've wanted to write, but I've felt the daunting task of summing up an incredible experience while also being so very busy to be too much every time I sit to tackle it. From my vantage point, I see six large windows and beyond them layers of pine. I'm sitting in a fairy tale- one that my husband and I have only dreamed about before. The Weigle's are out West!

I've had so many questions about what we're doing and I've found them difficult to answer. We got the opportunity back in November to travel to Colorado and we've been back and forth from here and Tennessee ever since. When we started homeschooling years ago, it was a hope of mine that our kids would get to experience more of the world as we made that choice. I didn't want to plan our adventures around one week in the Spring and one in the Fall. I wanted to be able to drop everything and seize the day if an opportunity arose. In 2020, my husband's job became mostly online and we have decided to take advantage of that when we can and so here we are!

I could talk about how we were here for that blizzard a few weeks ago. I could talk about how we've hiked around Garden of the Gods. I could tell you about the herds of mule deer who visit our front door daily. We've had fox sightings just outside the window. We celebrated Holi in the shrouds of color in the snow. We've spotted Steller's Jay on the porch and in the trees. We've traversed many miles in pursuit of endorphins. We've shivered in the wind and broke a sweat with snow still on the ground. We are learning that the West is one special place, a place where it was 80 yesterday and 30 and snowing again today.

Two strange happenings inspired me to write today, though. 

As I looked ambivalently outside at the falling snow today, I was startled by a loud sound I wasn't expecting. Thunder! How peculiar to experience both at once. I guess I didn't know that could happen. As my dad would say, "Ya learn somethin' new every day!"

Furthermore, the other day I desperately wanted to feel as if I'm still a runner, but the house sits at right around 9,000 ft and running here is very difficult. I hoped to head off this mountain into Denver for a quicker and longer run than I had been accomplishing here. With trepidation (I'm still so uncomfortable in cities), I pulled into a familiar park to run circles around a body of water with massive mountain views in the distance. I had been there once before, but on this day it felt new because before I even got a mile in, I stumbled across a field full of groundhogs. Clearly an outsider here, I paused my watch and started snapping photos because surely I had found something others had not. I looked around as everyone else kept walking like this wasn't the coolest happening of the day. Never have I seen multiple groundhogs together much less glancing up to fifty in my eyesight at least. I unpaused my watch and kept a steady pace expecting them to scatter. Some of them scurried away to another nearby hole while others looked at me unfazed. Meanwhile, the people of Colorado were also unfazed by this surprising (to me) community of rodents.

That was a first.

Here's to many more!

The kids and I are students together in a new place and I don't want to waste one moment of it.

Festival of Light

Thursday, November 19, 2020

 The past few weeks have been doozies. From the election to the pandemic to the big changes coming our way as a family, my head has been spinning with information and sometimes fear. The Hindu holiday of Diwali came at just the right time. Why would a Christian family celebrate Diwali, you might ask? Well, we are intimately tied to India through our adoption and our homeschool seeks out opportunities to learn about other cultures and customs all the time. We Americanized it inadvertently, of course, with our attire and my lack of Indian food and the whole Hindu integration, but we had fun and the kids learned a lot, I think.

What is Diwali? Well, it first caught my eye when I noticed that in preparation for the holiday, the whole entire house gets cleaned by its inhabitants! We celebrated with a family-wide cleaning spree which always calms me. I tidied up the upstairs while the kids tackled the monumental mess downstairs. The purpose of the first day of cleaning is to have mental clarity and peace to celebrate the five days of Diwali.

It's customary for shopping to be done for the holiday, too. We did purchase new clothes. In our case, we wore our India Adoption Fundraiser tees that recently arrived on our doorstep.

On the second day, many people decorate their homes with rangoli. Colorful designs are made at the entryways of homes with colored powders and flowers and light. Well wishes are made to friends and family and sweet treats are had by all.

The third day is marked with family gatherings, food, prayers, and fireworks.

On the fourth day, gifts and well wishes are given to friends and relatives.

On the final day, siblings visit one another and exchange gifts.

From my understanding and application, Diwali is about embracing light and goodness over darkness. What a great notion to teach my children. I think perhaps God is showing me something through all of this waiting. As I imagine what it must be like to be in India right now celebrating with more lights and colors than I've ever seen, I can imagine that the government there needs a break, too. It reminds me to relax and continue waiting patiently with this adoption. I want to celebrate the children I have here and the one God is orchestrating to join our family one day. The blending of lives is humbling, incredibly humbling...and it's our pleasure to be free to learn about the country where our future family member resides.

Happy Diwali to you and yours.