Saturday, August 31, 2019

We Bought a Farm: I HATE Blackberry bushes

Our farm has lots of blackberry pushes all throughout the pasture. I should wear pants. But I get sooooo hot. So I wear shorts and then when a surprise bush jumps out at me, I end up with scratches all over my legs,

Friday, August 30, 2019

Words to describe my kiddos

Earlier this summer, my three oldest kids had an opportunity to attend a wonderful day-camp at our church. This camp was put on by Pine Cove -- and they did an AMAZING job. At the end of the camp, campers were given three words to describe them by their camp counselors. I really think the counselors nailed each of my kids. Here were the words to describe them:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Hannah

I love her so much. It’s amazing how God can make these different humans — some of whom share your DNA — and still they are so different from each other. 

Hannah is her own little person. She makes me laugh so hard and, truth be told, she makes me frustrated sometimes too. But she’s a sweetie pie. And I love her. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ballet, try-outs, and fellow Mamas

I am tearing up as I write this Blog post.

My daughter, Abigail is eight years old. For the first six years of her life she was shy. Not just shy. Debilitatingly shy. Painfully shy. She never spoke to anyone outside of her family. Anywhere she had to go that didn't include her parents was nearly impossible. Even time with grandparents was nearly impossible.

When she was almost four, she began to beg me to participate in ballet. (If you know me, you know that I would never think to put a child of mine in a dance class. The concept is completely foreign to me!) We were preparing to move from the Nashville area to our forever home, and I googled ballet studios in the area we were moving to and happened upon Central Ballet

I will spare you the entire story of her introduction to ballet by directing you here where I wrote a post about Lori Ann and how ballet helped Abigail emerge from a shell we wondered if she'd ever come out of. (Lori Ann has since become a very dear friend to me and a prayer warrior in my life.) 

Each January, Central Ballet puts on a HUGE production! This is not a small show. It's done at the local college and has a budget of over $40,000. The first year (2015) Abigail went to the try-out but was too shy. Then in 2016, she did her first show. In 2017 her second. In 2018, she was given a part "leading" littler dancers out on stage. 

And then came 2019. The show is Pollyanna. Abigail has been working soooo hard on ballet. She loves it immensely, takes extra classes and has also been taking private lessons with a senior girl at the studio. She was chomping-at-the-bit for the try-out and didn't appear nervous at all. Here is a picture a friend snapped of Abigail with a new friend, Natalie, before her try-out:

My friend Kristin nabbed this picture of Abigail and her daughter/friend Eliza (who just landed a big role in her first children's theater production this fall!): 

Kristin is a dance/acting Mama. She understands the scene and gave both Abigail and I a HUGE pep talk before the try-out. She told Abigail how capable she was and reminded me to encourage her accordingly. This was a HUGE thing for Kristin to do. She knew that Abigail would probably get a bigger part than her daughter. But it wasn't about that. It was about us encouraging each other as parents and parenting the unique talents that our individual daughters have. (Eliza is an AMAZING actress who uses her dance in those roles!)

Kristin has also played a huge role in our homeschooling group. She stood by me intensely and helped Abigail come out of her shell. I'll never forget when Kristin came up to me one morning at co-op CRYING because Abigail had participated in her class for the first time ever. 

So I found it more than ironic when ..... 

This year, Lori Ann was asking for something "bigger" from Abigail. She wanted her to do the dancing part and then come back later and do the "acting" part. (Of course, in ballet there is no talking so the acting is all "movement" which was really great for Abigail). Here is one picture I managed to take of Abigail (with my friend Kristin) during the acting portion of the try-out. I was so excited that Abigail paired up with Kristin during the acting part. Here's a picture of the two of them:

Abigail did AMAZING at the try-out. And she actually did some acting! In the end, she landed a very special and unique part that is making me so, so proud. She's Pollyanna's kitten and it is a BIG part for her age group!

In addition, Hannah is going to be in this year's production for the first time. She is thrilled that she will get to be a ROSE with her cousin Genevieve!

I am one stinkin' proud Mama here. My little girl growing up. I am also so blessed by the people in my life (like Lori Ann and Kristin) who are my PEOPLE and helping me raise these kids! 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

What do you see?

Picture 1

When I was growing up they were a special thing. They cost a lot of money. You didn't get to pick your best shot. You had to wait for film to be developed. You had to show your friends your photos in a little physical album -- you couldn't text it or email it or post it to Facebook.

But today? That has all changed. Today we can take dozens and dozens of photos. Then we choose the one we will show with the world. We can change the colors and lighting and blur out pieces that we don't like. We can whiten our teeth and have a perfect tan.

Now, if I am being honest, the picture above didn't go through any editing. But it was one of three Joan snapped of me during that fleeting moment.

Here were the other two completely raw pictures:

Picture 2
Picture 3
Isn't it funny how a picture can look like you but not actually feel like you?

I look at picture 1, and I see peace. I see tranquility. I see being totally relaxed on vacation.

And yet, while I was trying to do that, only a few people knew how much I was struggling. 

In fact, it's picture 3 that I feel like really shows what Wendi was feeling that day. Wendi has been struggling. I've been battling some anxiety that likes to rear up its ugly head every now and then. I'm on vacation. I'm trying to relax. And yet I just cannot let it all go. I'm really, really trying.

Picture 1, the one that I now have as my Facebook profile picture, tells the world something. But it isn't a true story.

It's why I strive, always, to keep it real. To tell the TRUE story. The TRUE story is that Wendi is in a little bit of a pit. It's not a deep one. (I've been in those and hope to never go back again.) But it's a little bit of a hole, and I want to climb out of it, and I am really trying. I am posting photos and blogging and being present in moments, but sometimes, my heart isn't in it the way I wish it was. Sometimes I am watching like a spectator, not completely participating.

And so, if you are seeing pictures that other people are posting and thinking, "How do they have it all together?" . . .

And so, if you are posting pictures yourself and able to see the pain behind by your smile . . . 

You are not alone. You are NOT the only one battling adrenaline and anxiety and depression. We are here. With you. We are posting photos and sharing our lives, but often, the photos aren't showing what we are feeling

Reach out. If you are struggling today, know that there is a very tall blonde girl who may seem to have it altogether struggling a bit as she goes to sleep tonight.

THIS is what anxiety looks like. 
THIS is real.
THIS is doing life together.

We Bought a Farm: Our New Ducks

These are crested ducks (the ones with the crazy hair) and runner ducks.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Back from Vermont

We are back from Vermont. There are so many pictures to post, but I wanted to take just a moment and share a few of my favorites:

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vacation reading material

Years ago before I had children, I tried to read this series. I think I got midway through Book 2 and lost interest:

My boys have now read the entire series. John is midway thru reading Book 3 to all four kids in their before-bed-bedtime ritual. And Sidge asked that I give it another chance. 

John encouraged me to read it through my kids’ eyes, and I am this time! 

I started Book 1 right before we left for Vermont. I’m now midway thru 2 and really enjoying it! I especially love “getting” something my kids get. 

Right now we are stuck in New York City traffic, but I’m having a blast with my Book (and some Kit Kats!)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Colorado Trip

I thought I posted these pics but then realized I hadn't! It was Abigail's turn to go with her Daddy out west for his Continuing Medical Education (CME) year conference with the Wilderness Medicine group. Here are some pictures of their adventures!