My Children

My children are pretty wonderful! I know I am biased but when they go to their grandparents for a night or two and they jump out of the car upon their return and run to me arms wide open. I know I have done something right.  My children are loved deeply and they themselves know how to love. They run to their dad in the same way.  My kids come running full speed ahead and wrap their arms around me and squeeze like it could be our last embrace. Every single hug I get from them is this way.

As you have probably figured by my writing, I have twin boys who are twelve and my husband is the eldest of 3 brothers.  The gene pool is heavily weighted on my husband’s side…its something crazy like 36 grandchildren and all but one is a girl!!  Now, to me that’s a pretty loaded pool of testosterone.

When I got pregnant I remember thinking I wanted a girl but down to my core I knew I was having boys.  At first, babies were babies to me-a lot of work and they must be taken care of or literally they wouldn’t survive.  As months and years pass now, I have two pre-teen boys  that are somewhat independent, love to succeed and want to succeed, desperately want their parents to be proud of them as we both are. And I find myself loosening the reigns a bit, I don’t want to do this because they will always be my babies but they aren’t babies any more.

Each of my son’s have strengths and weakness and their uniqueness to each other and others their age is something for them to be proud of.  I have heard for years that my child is different in this way or that and I often cringe at these words where my fists unconsciously squeeze together.  See, the word different has a negative notion to it and it defiantly does to my son.  So, when someone calls him different I turn into momma bear and in my head their face hits my fist. Now, I am a rational person and do have my best moments when protecting my children’s right in school.  But when they are violated I come running in like a bull in a china shop.  I am proud of the advocate I am for my children.  I would help anyone out their if they struggled in this area.

All of us are unique, special, gifted and some things come easier for others but what someone else struggles with you might succeed at.  It is my job to show and teach my children to step in and help others with regard to this.

It is a constant battle for me to remind my sons that I want them to have a strong work ethic, a heart of gold, kindness, how to be gentlemen, and it is ok to fail as long as you get up and go after it even harder than the time before!! I want both of my sons to understand that the reward takes work, back breaking work and you will reap great reward from hard work.  There is a time for each of us to win and each of us to fall short.  I want them to know graciousness and courage as they move to their teenage years!

Need a Reboot?

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Everyone needs to get away. We need to take a break from the daily chores that start, stop, and repeat that life requires us to do, to be successful productive individuals in this world.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to escape or getaway. Although, I do not like leaving my family and I miss them so much when I am gone, I think everyone needs to get off the beating path of monotony of every day life.  My family is always tucked close to my heart, thinking of them in the time that I am away and quite often thoughts of them consume conversations when I am not with them.

As I have gotten older, my kids have gotten older and so much of them are a part of my conversations everyday that I wonder what I used to talk about before I had kids.  It’s this all consuming love and fulfillment everyday that it’s impossible to think about what my life would be like without them in it.

So, when I get the opportunity to check out for a few hours, a day, two days…it’s actually hard for me to make the decision to leave but it fills a place in me that is full of wonderment and laughter about the world in the the time that I am away. I think it is the change of scenery that refreshes and in a way, reboots us all that is important.

Turning Over a New Leaf

There are times when situations are put in our path and it is up to you to pay attention to them or not.  As individuals we have the opportunity to make choices daily.  We decide whether to go left or right, forward or backwards, or pick door one or door two.  It’s as simple as saying yes or no but it is never that simple, is it? I think most people tend to over think things and sometimes I am one of these people. However, I am trying something different lately.

I think many people live in the realm of actions cause reactions and choices have consequences so we get so wrapped up in what if this or what if that… that we don’t ever just go with living in the moment.  Living in the moment comes more naturally to some people and not so much to others.

I crave more spontaneity in life but often I find myself trying to make a plan or a list of tasks to accomplish things.  I am a planner by nature but am realizing lately that I don’t always need a plan. I would like to think I am always prepared but that doesn’t really jive with living in the moment.  Why is this?  Does life really require a schedule?  In my mind, I am trained to create this schedule but when it comes to relishing in the moments, life won’t end without a schedule.  It would in fact bring more spontaneity into my life and this is what I crave.  I want to try new things and test my own limits.  So, I am going to stick to this way of thinking for awhile and see what happens.

Last week my sister called and asked me if I had plans for this weekend.  Normally, we are both booked weeks in advance.  But not this weekend. Her spontaneous suggestion of getting away to McMenamins for a few nights and getting a few more stamps in our passports was a brilliant idea. So, I decided to jump at the chance and booked our room that day.  I always need sister time, heck, I would live next door to her if I could.  She is one of my favorite people in this whole world.  The laughter, honesty, and trust we have is limitless.

This new leaf I have turned over is to live in the moment and get out of my head, so to speak. Spend less time worrying and more time living.  More time with experiences and less time planning them. I will keep you posted on this works out for me.

How do you look at life?

Small Delicate Moments

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A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett

I am constantly reminded of how precious life is and how important my perspective is on life.  I will admit that there has been a chunk of my life that I have flown through without reminding myself to keep things in perspective and to take those extra moments to not rush through life.

It is so easy to let the negative out weigh the positive and to pass over small delicate moments for the big ones.  All those big moments rush through and often, are over dramatized… and in seconds, they are gone.  I want to slow down my moments and pay attention to what is right in front of me.  The moments to follow will come in time, so why rush them?? Why rush what will happen anyway?

My perspective is often to get through the tasks of today, tomorrow, and the next day systematically and to always complete them even if at the cost of one of those moments that I should have relished in. Slowly, I am changing and realizing how important spontaneity is to me and how much I love being surprised by life.

A few days ago, in the middle of those daily chores of mowing the lawn, walking the dog, cleaning the car, and spreading bark dust, I stopped.  I felt this wave wash in as my kids busily worked around me in the hot sun robotically, neither of them smiling.  It took me just a minute to see they were painfully passing through a moment that could have a touch of spontaneity in it.  I wanted to change their perspective and I wanted to see them smile in that moment. I went around the back side of the house and filled a few bucket of water and I went in for the hose.  I uncoiled a good 10 feet and started spraying high above and watched the water rain down on them. I taunted them with the full buckets.  They could have them if they could get to them.

In those insignificant moments of daily chores, I changed their perspective. Thirty minutes of spontaneous joy that lifted all of our spirits was enough to change the monotony of the ritualistic moments we were in.

As my kids get older, so do I and I can’t stop that but I can take more time to pay attention. Life throws all sorts curve balls our way and it is up to us to be able to adapt how we react to them.  I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. In the past, I have wasted time trying to figure out why and what it all means when I could have just soaked it all in like a sponge instead of burdening my mind and moments with trying to figure it out.  As for today and all the days in front of me, I am going to work on staying out of my head and relishing in the moments that really matter.

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Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!

 

 

Work Hard, Play Hard

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I wake each morning in the same ritualistic way, coffee, writing, a load of laundry from the dryer to fold, kitchen needs to be tidy, and all the other repeated tasks to follow suit throughout the day.  I repeat this day in and day out. The same beginning and the same ending.  In the last years, I have been putting some of these tasks in my boys’ hands.

I know these tasks need to be done or the house will fall in shambles but can I find a way to enjoy every day tasks? It’s robotic, it’s a mental list I drudge my way through just to get them done because no one else does. They need to be done.  For some sick reason, it would drive me crazy if I just let them go. Am I the only person who feels this way?  Is it something women, mothers, and wives force ourselves to do?  Lump ourselves in this dated way of thinking that all the “home” things must be done by us because it is our duty as women?  Can I change this way of thinking in my boys as they grow?

Now, I am not attempting to know anything that other women don’t but why can’t my 12-year-old boys rinse and put their dishes in the dishwasher, after all they used them?  Why can’t my sons fold laundry or set the dinner table?  And if I have to clean my room and make my bed, why can’t they do the same in their own rooms? Heaven forbid they ever learn how to push a vacuum around. I am behind this stereotype of what men do and what women should do.  I want my children to be an example and accept to this stereotype.  I believe they will be better for it as adults.

For as much as my children, love the outdoors and would spend every waking minute outside if they could, why can’t they learn to help out inside? Last week my boys and I spread 15 yards of bark dust together with shovels and wheel barrels.  They mowed, weeded and used the tractors to help on the farm.  I do not think I am working my kids to hard, they play hard everyday although often watering turns into water fights just like last night. This is joyful to watch.

I would like to say I am guiding them to be the best little men they can be. Also, I convince myself that later on in life whoever they choose to spend their lives with will be grateful they know how to wash dishes, do laundry, and vacuum, along with all the other outside tasks we are required to do to keep our home well kept.  This is preparing them for the real world.  We work to play harder!

My children are loved, happy, and enjoy life. Even after putting in some hard hours of working by the end of it, they are always smiling and laughing when they come in the house. So, how can we possibly be working them too hard? They are full of joy, filled with life, and excited about what comes next.  What else could I ask for?

His Hands

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I watched his large hands under the facet sink every day when he came home from work.  Suds bubbled as he rubbed his hands together under the water and greeted us with a hello.  His hands were wet and reached for the dishtowel on the orange counter top.  Both wrapped around me in a circle when hugging me.

These hands gripped an ax during the summer as our family chopped wood to make money for school clothes. They threw wood into the bed of the pickup we drove. Gripping the chainsaw handle and showing us the way to work and work hard.  Our small hands stacked and organized the wood in rows in the bed and just high enough so he could see out the back window. His hands were often calloused and cracked in the summer but those same hands could be soft and gentle.

When I was sick, his right hand cradled a spoon and feed me nourishment and medicine, held a thermometer in my mouth and wiped my tears. His other hand would rub my forehead and push my hair out of my face. Those hands were comfort for me for many years, he cradled my hand in his as I learned to walk, and as an infant, I am certain my tiny fist was wrapped around one of his fingers.

All through childhood I watched those hands teach us right from wrong and sometimes showed us stern punishment if we needed discipline. As they could be tough, calloused, rough, and thick skinned they could also be the opposite. His hands were stable, strong, gentle, and always secure in their love for his children.

He could fix any car engine with those hands and stroke piano keys and guitar strings in perfect harmony in the same day. Those hands made music. Music that was so amazingly beautiful I will hear it for the rest of my life. I will always be able to see his fingers on those keys and on those strings; in only his hands purity dripped from those fingers.

The best thing about his hands were the way they looked in my mom’s hands. Her hands were small and delicate, soft and loving.  He took care of her hands and cradled her heart with them.  They fit together like puzzle pieces and the hours they were together far outweighed the time they were apart. I will always remember their hands together and the way it felt for one of his hands to hold mine and the other to be held by my mother.

Book Covers??

It is getting closer.  There have been some delays. Some stressful days waiting to hear that the phone didn’t ring when it was supposed too and the emails didn’t come when stated.  I am still learning about patience.  Another 7-10 days, I am not counting the time.

I was given three cover options because I requested the options. I wanted something to compare to what, I thought I wanted.  I should have gone with my gut right away.  What I thought I wanted is exactly what I wanted!! (HA!) These are the covers that didn’t make the cut – not my CUT! They are wonderful and were discussed but hey, you might get to see these illustrations again.

It has been months and months. I am done with the sequel and on to another book.  A different style of writing, a different voice, and a story I have always wanted to tell!

I am so blessed!

 

Free Write\ing

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Recently, I have become very aware of how busy life is, no, I didn’t just wake up yesterday and realize it. Over the last few years my twin boys have gotten older thus a lot busier with activities.

I don’t know if it’s just my twins but since the beginning mine have been completely attached at the hip.  I constantly ask adult twins or people who know twins…. if they still get along as adults.  I have heard way more no’s thank yes’s.  I would say there is something special about having multiples…my twins are something else.  The connection is crazy real, crazy intense, and I hope it’s always crazy close!

This weekend we rocked the Yamaha Twin Engine for about 12-16 hours and two tanks.  Sun was awesome…like therapy for me. Burning energy, no worries…completely blissed out.

Sunday, we had our longest and closest friends come with their children for the day.  They live about an hour away with two kids about our ages, not twins, but just as busy as any other family out there, maybe even a bit busier.

So, I don’t get to see this friend of mine very often…I think one year we went 7 months without seeing each other maybe longer.  It’s tough as children get older and move up thru the grades in school. It gets harder and harder to plan and see friends especially if you live an hour from each other. Even friends that live miles away somehow find their way back to each other.

Yesterday, in my complete blissed out state I realized I was in these… numbered hours of perfection (and I have written in my blog about perfection not existing, so here I go contradicting myself). Sitting and laughing with my friend, screaming over the boat engine and the yelling kids. It was heaven! And oh, did I laugh.  The good kind, the belly laugh.  The kind of laugh where a few hours later, that moment pops into your head again and you start laughing out loud.

I can’t really give you (my readers) one specific example of the joy that occurred yesterday on the river in a boat with our friends.

I will try a few words/phrases:

Being in the water (I love the water)

Playing with a foam football in the river

Splashing a dry person before they splash you

Cruising in the boat, good music, drinks

Good company…

Jumping off the boat mid float

Laughing so hard you almost wet your pants

Chasing kids in the water

Splashing….

Tubing, floating, food

My twins finish school this week for the summer and my house is buzzing with excitement!! I hope you all have the kinds of friends we do and get to experience these moments of joy, bliss, and enchantment throughout life with them.

Enjoy your week, my friends!!

 

 

Yes! Agriculture!!!

Happy by Pharrell

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Today, I went back to a place that I haven’t been in awhile. Rather, I went back to an activity that I haven’t done in awhile. I found myself in three different classes in Turner, Oregon.  Each class was about 30 students and I found a passion ignite in me that I thought I didn’t have anymore or at least, I forgot that I had.

Side note #1: Back November 2015, after many years at the same job I painfully came to the decision that I needed to leave.  Not because I wanted too but because my children were struggling with school and had just moved to the middle school. It was a difficult transition and I knew if I didn’t leave my job I couldn’t give the amount of time and energy to what was my #1 job…being a mom. I remember the day, crying and saying, “I have to resign.”

I left something I loved doing and something I believed was important for students to know about (agriculture) because I knew I could never get this time back with my children. Years pass by so quickly with children and every day that passes, they change, and with the difficulties they were having I couldn’t possibly not leave my job.  Today, I know I made the right choice.

Yesterday, I went to the middle school and found that both of my boys were chosen by two different teachers’ for a “Teacher’s Choice” award.  They both were recognized for their smiles, positive attitudes, their drive, and they never quit when it gets tough – this made me very proud.  The assembly went on and without really paying attention I heard one of my son’s names called for Honor Roll.  I was shocked, fumbled for my camera and got one picture. This showed me I made the right choice.  Both of my sons are thriving!!

The job I left was with Oregon Agriculture in the the Classroom. I worked there for quite a few year’s and I loved it!  Still to date, my favorite job! I loved the people I worked with. I believed in the message of the program to share agriculture with students in the state of Oregon and to educate students about what agriculture means to all of us.

There all things about every job that we like more than others but for this job, it was simple. For me, it was teaching students about agriculture. I could be having a rough morning; the kind you really don’t want to get out of bed but when I walk through the door of almost every classroom I have been in I thrive! The curiosity in their eyes when they look at me gives me such a rush, I know that I will be able to teach them something they didn’t know before they arrived that morning and I know each one of them will take a piece of that information with them!! It’s a challenge. I walked in those rooms today, I knew how to present, how to grab their attention, what to talk about, and I knew they would listen.  It was awesome!!!

Side note #2: During my job interview, I couldn’t define the word “agriculture”, like at all! I couldn’t say farm, dirt, truck, tractor….and I actually requested that we come back to that question.  (Oh, the embarrassment!)

I have always had a goal to make sure I get an “ohh” and an “ahhh” out of a teacher during my presentations.  When I run out of those, I need to educate myself more. (Or at least that is what I think.) I research and I find something else, sometimes it takes a lot of digging.  Politely, I love having a teacher ask me a question I know the answer to and seeing the surprise in their faces.  This was always something I did in my job.  I wanted teachers to know without them noticing that I was one step a head. I took so much pride…. real pride, in teaching about agriculture and the importance of it when I was working!

I am confident that I am able to teach students something new but when I can teach the teacher something…that is what I want to do!! That is the good stuff – the sweet spot! I love love teaching students but when I can stump the teacher…that, is the sweet spot!

The students are amazing (not all of the time) but I know how to command the attention in the room…I’d like to say I inherited that from my father (a teacher for over 30 years).  He was an awesome teacher not because he was my dad but because now at 39, I still have people on the street ask me about my dad and what he is doing and they always, always share something about how my dad impacted their lives. Now, that is a good teacher! Who wouldn’t want to be remembered that way. I only wish that as I get older and when I perhaps pass that people talk about me the way they talk about my dad.

So, today after teacher three classes. I am honored to do it again. Monday, in fact I am lucky enough, I get to teach again. Not because it’s my job any more but because I truly love it.  I am passionate about it and it makes me see the world differently.  Seeing something through the eyes of a student or young person can change your life. I know when I am teaching about agriculture, I make an impact and I know I am good at it!

Today, I made a difference.  I taught about 90 students, three teachers, and someone peaking threw the door.