Jonathan has a very green thumb.  It’s probably a good thing because I’m pretty sure both of mine are black. :-\   I seem to kill any plant I touch but they thrive under his care.  I recently started cutting some of the flowers to bring inside.  They’re so beautiful!







Peaceful Musings

We’re in the middle of Christmas vacation from school right now and I’ve been cleaning like crazy and getting rid of tons of stuff.  I was beginning to feel like we were being buried in clutter.  I haven’t completely figured out how to keep my house as clean as I used to with school and work and it was definitely showing.  But tonight, my house is clean again for the most part and I am loving it.  It’s so satisfying to see utter chaos turned into something neat and orderly. 🙂

Everyone is sleeping and the house is totally quiet except for the hum of the dishwasher and I decided to sit and enjoy it.  On a whim I turned all the lights out except for the holiday lights in our living room window and am sitting on the couch enjoying the peacefulness around me.  Everyone should string lights up in the winter I think, if just for this purpose. 🙂  It’s so peaceful and relaxing and they add such a touch of beauty to the early evenings.  I need to sit like this more often.  I think sometimes I get so caught up in the busy-ness of every day living that I forget to sit and relax and just enjoy the beauty around me.  I need this.  My soul needs it.

Memories – Mini Townsend

There are things in life that have the ability to instantly send us back to another time in our life.  A smell, a sight, a song.  The memory is so strong you can almost taste it.  That happened to me as I was out for a walk the other day.  I spotted a section of woods near the road where I was walking.  You know, the kind that is just perfect for running and playing in as a child.  I might be an adult but there is a child within me still, and that child bounced with excitement as I scanned the area. 🙂  Most people would have just seen trees and leaves and crisscrossed branches.  But I saw roads, forts and houses and it brought a smile to my face.  It was so clear in my mind that I could have drawn a map of the area.

This happens a lot when I see a stretch of woods that are great for playing in and it always makes me smile, like I have this neat little secret those around me can’t see. 🙂

One of my fondest childhood memories is of the woods in our backyard.  My siblings and I created roads, forts, driveways, houses, etc. in our little stretch of woods.   We called it Mini Townsend and we even had a postman 🙂  We played for hours and hours out there and I loved it.  I have often wished I had a picture of it.  I’m pretty sure that anyone else looking at it wouldn’t see the same thing I do though.  We just knew what everything was.  Those trees over there about 18″ apart?  Those aren’t just trees…that’s a road.  You go through the trees, never around.  That opening over there?  That’s my driveway.  To most people it probably just looked like trees and branches and stuff.  But to us, it was all so clearly laid out that it would have been like walking through the center of a modern town and I loved it .

And now, when I look at a section of woods along the road, a town forms in my mind and I can see it all laid out.  Evergreens become houses, logs become bridges, trails become roads, etc.   It always makes me smile and wish I was a child again so I could run through it without looking like a crazy woman 😉

Show Up – Present, Ready, Real, Engaged

This blog speaks to me on so many levels.  Today’s post about showing up really struck a cord in me.  Here is a portion of it:

Show up, friend. You don’t have to fix them and you don’t have to save. Show up, with all of your love and insecurity, with all of your messy beauty and irrational fears. Don’t wait until you think you’re ready. Can we really ever be ready for change?

Show up in the world and be who you already are. Not hiding behind a mask of strength. Not pretending to understand things you don’t. Not a girl who has all the answers. Not a mom who can handle everything or a teacher who is always fresh with ideas or a wife who never gets it wrong. Show up human. Show up authentic. Show up today, in everything you do. Be there, present, ready, real, engaged. Show up and see what happens.  The world is begging you.

Be sure to check out the rest of her 31 Days to Change the World posts when you get a chance.  They are great!

More Thoughts on Being Real

“Stacy is my organized one.  Her house is spotless all the time”  My mom bragged.  Her friend looked at me and smiled.  I froze.

“No, it’s not.”  I quickly corrected.

My mom nodded.  Her friend looked back and forth between us…my mom nodding, me shaking my head.  “Is that a ‘yes, it really is’?”   she asked my mom.  “Yes” my mom said.

“No, it’s not” I said again.  “After 5 children I’m pretty normal”.  My mom continued to insist so I changed the subject.

But it bothered me.  A lot.  If you’ve been reading here for a while you know the journey I’ve been on with being real.  The reality is that I am a normal mother of 5 children.  Do I try to have a clean house?  Yes.  But our house goes through various stages of neat and messy several times a day.  And every year we go through cycles of it being neat more often than not to it being cluttered all the time – until I finally cave and go through the house getting rid of excess stuff.  Again.  We’re normal.  Hate to disappoint you but that’s the truth. 😉

My mom has not been in my home in almost 4 years (and even then it was a brief 2-3 hour visit).  The reality is that she really has no idea what my house looks like day in and day out.   So why the need to insist on perfection to her friend?

It got me thinking about how many times we may portray not only ourselves as being perfect – but also those around us.   When we talk with people, how do we portray not only ourselves but our husbands, our children, even our friends?  Do we portray them as perfect, and in so doing put pressure on them to live at that standard of perfection when it may not be healthy for them to do so?  Do they feel like they’ve failed if they’re unable to be what we have caused others to think they are?  How about the pressure it puts on those who hear us making such statements – friends, siblings etc. – who now feel the need to measure up to the “perfect one” and who struggle with not being able to?  And when they fail, will they then fall into the trap of falsely portraying themselves and others in order cover the fact?  What if we let not only ourselves be real, but also our children, our husbands, our friends.  Then, and only then, will people really feel free to reach out for help when they need it and be able to genuinely encourage others along the way.  Then, and only then, will people be free of the constant comparisons and be able to relax in who they are.

So much to think about.  And change.

On a side note, even though I was frustrated with the comments, I was also encouraged to see the reaction in myself when the comment was made.   In the past I would have just smiled and said nothing, secretly pleased that I would be seen that way.  Instead there was a genuine horror within me at the falsehood.   And I spoke up.  It felt good to be real…to want to be real…to dare to be real.

So if you’ve wanted to change, but are hesitating, be encouraged.  It IS possible!  Dare to step out today and be real with those around you.  Break the cycle of  “pretend perfection”.  It’s well worth it.   For you, for your family, for your friends, for everyone around you.  Remember:

When you’re real, you are reachable…

When you’re real, you can be trusted…

When you’re real, you can help others…

When you’re real, you can be you.


Wow, you guys are great!  Yesterday we had 141 (102 of which were for the Triple Layer Bars recipe) views here on Faith and Family.  The most we’d had in one day before was 75.  My children (who like checking the stats every day 🙂 ) we’re like “Mommy, look!  WOW”!! 🙂

Thank you to all who stopped by!  Come back soon. 🙂