Friday Five · linkups · writing

Writing Secret {Five Minute Friday}

It’s time for Five Minute Friday and I know what this says, but I will confess to you, I didn’t get up this morning.  I blame the lack of hazelnut coffee creamer.  I’m joining with Lisa Jo and the incredible community of writers who write on a one word prompt for five solid minutes every Friday.  No editing.  No overthinking.  No fear.  Well, working on that.  Today’s prompt is…


When I get up to write, the house is still dark and my only motivation to crawl out of the warm bed and stumble to the cold living room to turn on a lamp is the coffee maker.  Thank goodness for auto program.  It starts dripping at 5 a.m. and even though I want to hit the snooze on the alarm, the steady percolating from the kitchen helps me up.

I write in the quiet because my day is usually so full of noise and requests and squeals and fussy babies that I crave just the quiet.  I lose myself in the thoughts and the words and the possibilities for just a few moments before everyone else is up and begging waffles or milk or cuddles.

I write because I’m scared. I’m scared I’ll look back and wish I had, I’m scared no one will ever want to read it, I’m scared someone actually will.  I write because there are stories that have been told over and over so many times, but no one has ever told stories of mothers and daughters and sunsets and first loves the way I will.

I write because when I was nine years old my mama put a copy of Little House in the Big Woods in my hands and I was transported to another place.  I write to capture that for someone else, to be that transporter, to share a story that has a different meaning for the person who might someday be on the other side of the page than it has for me right now typing the words.

I write even though I don’t know if anything will ever come of it, even though no one’s ever paid me a dime to do it, even though I sometimes think I’d be better off reading great writers than ever trying to be one.

I write because I’m not alone even though it’s the most solitary time of my day.

I’ve got some fun giveaways going on this month!  Click here to read about how you can win a copy of my favorite organizational tools!

giveaways · Home · linkups

The Printables That are Changing My Life {and yours too!}

Printable by Kayse Pratt
I’m a former teacher, you know. A former teacher who didn’t just believe in the power of a great graphic organizer, I was that teacher who actually used them before it became mandatory to demonstrate every lesson with a thinking map.  
Now, I’m unpacking the word homemaker into a title I can live with–a home maker.  I make a home everyday with my words and actions and responsibilities.  Which means I need a little lot of organizational help.  Because while I might be able to churn out a lesson about independent and subordinate clauses that uses a graph I designed myself and meets the quotas of our new standards, I’m a little lost in the home making department sometimes.  

I overwhelm easily.  I don’t know where to begin and my lists all start to look the same.
Surely I’m not alone in this misery? 
Thank the Lord for people like Kayse Pratt.  She’s a former teacher, too, but she’s actually still using her amazing graphic design skills to conquer her home. She wrote this great ebook on home management that will walk you through a step by step guide to setting up your own home management notebook (like a lesson plan for my house!) and she also writes incredibly encouraging posts on motherhood and marriage on her blog.  {and yesterday she released Worth the Fight: Lessons Learned in a High Maintenance Marriage if you’re needing some encouragement for your marriage as well}
So today, she’s offering you a treat!  One of my readers can win her complete set of home management printables.  She’ll even let you choose between the awesome teal and orange color scheme like this: 
daily schedule teal -
Or you can go pink and grey right here.
daily schedule -
My absolute favorite printable is the monthly meal planner.  You know how you think you’ve got the hang of something, but then you see how someone else is doing it and it just seems so much better? 
That’s how this makes me feel.  It inspired me to just create a list of thirty possible meals for the month and then when I go to plan weekly, I have this list to refer back to.  This way, there’s only one time a month I’m burying my kitchen table in my favorite cookbooks and getting distracted by all the delicious looking finds on Pinterest when I meal plan.  
We’re also about to start using the Spending Tracker to keep up with where all the miscellaneous cash is going, and even Joshua got excited about the Financial Goals sheet that I’ve already filled with a list of really important things we should be saving for, you know, like a new sofa.
Making home simpler.  That’s my kind of plan. 
To enter leave a comment on this post telling me one way you’d like to be more organized!  I’ll use to pick the winner.  One comment per person please.  Oh, and if you’re one of my sweet readers from facebook, comments there won’t count, so please leave one here! If you don’t know how, just drop me an email at Comments close on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
Did you hear how I’m giving away lots of my favorite things this month to celebrate mine and the blog’s birthdays? Click over here to read about it and enter to win something else!

This post contains affiliate links. 
linkups · motherhood

In Which We Hike Tallulah Gorge {Behind the Scenes}

What I tweeted with this on Saturday.

It was one of those moments that made people call me a good mom.  I took my kids up the road a bit to Tallulah Gorge State Park and then we hiked all 1099 steps all the way down and back up with Gus and Amelia taking turns in the Ergo.

People told me it was heroic.  Not hardly.

Because truth is, in the four snow days prior I was anything but a great mom.  I was the mom who lost it in the self-checkout line when one of the kids kept leaning on the scale and messing up the computer. I was the mom who didn’t get everyone dressed to go outside to play in the snow when it started falling on Tuesday afternoon because it was just going to be too hard to dress them and then deal with the mess. I was the mom who had to take make her third trip to the emergency room in a month because someone fell off the sofa and busted her head open and needed stitches.

Notice I didn’t tweet or facebook about any of that.

So Saturday’s hike was less about me doing something exciting with them and so much more about me just surviving.  Joshua was working at the church all day and the four walls of our house were becoming claustrophobic, so off we went with a simple picnic and no plan other than maybe if we walked around the rim a bit they would take decent naps and I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about letting the big girls watch another episode on the Disney channel.

The stairs were not in my plan.  Annabelle always wants to do them all, but her sisters always flake out when we’re about a quarter of the way down and so we’re forced to come back up.  She’s always mad, I’m always frustrated, and Madelynne’s always crying. But for some reason on Saturday, the big girls had bonded together and decided we were going to do this.

That’s always the key, isn’t it? When something is their idea, they are so much more motivated.

So down we went.  All the way.  It was slow, tedious work with a toddler who wanted to walk and a preschooler who didn’t. But we made it, somehow, by the grace of God, I believe.

Because when we got to stand at the base of Hurricane Falls and look back up at how far we had come, Madelynne whispered, “It was worth it.”

It was worth it.  The hardest journeys–they’re always worth it.

Motherhood isn’t easy.  I have a lot of struggles with holding myself to unattainable standards that make me feel like a failure.  I’ve been learning a lot of ugly truths about myself in the past few years as I’ve really tried to embrace motherhood as a calling and not just a situation I landed in and now must muddle through.

There are really hard days, days we don’t want to talk about or share about or hear about, but those days pass and what we’re left with is the view of how far we’ve come.

We had to climb back out of that canyon, you know. Back up those stairs, and physically, it was far harder than going down. But emotionally?  It was so much easier because we knew now just how worthwhile the expedition was.

Warrior on, mama, as Lisa Jo would say.  It’s worth it.

Linking up today with the brave community who tells the truth behind the picture.

oh, and here’s some more pictures of our day….

The Tallulah River

Those arms around one another?  That never happens.

Can you spot the paci?  That’s right, he threw it into the canyon.

Proud of themselves.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means if you make a purchase, I get a tiny bit to help fund this space.  Thanks!

Have you entered my giveaway for a 3-pack of natural lip balm from Andi Gould Designs?  It ends Friday! 


linkups · Margin Mom · monday

What Weekends are Really For

It’s Monday morning and my to-do list looks the same as it did Friday afternoon.  We’re still in the midst of this project, just today did I rescue the hall from the overflowing hamper, and I really should bake some bread for these carb-ivore kids who are always, always hungry.  I suppose I could have gotten ahead of the game this weekend.  We could have hung that next closet shelf and organized the craft supplies and rolled the dough for the best cinnamon bread ever.

But we didn’t.  We played bananagrams and had a sleepover and snuggled under blankets on the couch while the fake fireplace tried in vain to warm the house in this arctic weather that Southerners don’t have the bones for. I fell asleep watching Avatar and read the January and February issues of Southern Living which inspired me to fall in love with my beloved casseroles all over again.  The kids made big messes I complained about and on Saturday night we scrapped the menu plans and got Chinese takeout.

Amelia told me how good she was at Candy Crush while I tried to take a nap with her tucked in next to  me on Sunday afternoon after I took the big girls to the annual GA Tea at church and ate way more finger sandwiches and tiny cookies than can possibly be good for my waistline. I tried to think about all the things I should have been doing but gave up and gave in to the simpleness of quiet rest.

There’s always a list.  We never get to the end of it.

But sometimes weekends aren’t for crossing off the to-do’s but for embracing the to-don’ts. Sometimes I get driven by that little voice that tells me I could be working more and accomplishing much and living well but enjoying less. Sometimes that voice is good motivation, reminding me that I shouldn’t always just waste this precious time, but more often, it’s a distraction that keeps me from just becoming quiet and seeking fulfillment in the life that’s pulsing all around me.

We have to be full before we can pour out.  So maybe weekends, often, are for that.  For sitting still and filling up and resting well before Monday comes around again.

So, maybe, next weekend, you let go of the guilt that list brings and instead do something you don’t think you should.  Hike instead of organize.  Watch a movie instead of folding laundry.  Eat takeout instead of making a meal. Give yourself a respite and let the goodness of grace fill you back up.

What did your weekend look like? 

Sharing with the Multitudes on Monday community at A Holy Experience. 

family · Home · joshua · linkups · one word 365

One Little Corner of Sanity {Behind the Scenes}

We’re rearranging.  Again. Either we’re furniture moving junkies or incredibly indecisive.  Or both. But really, it’s just that we keep trying and trying to figure out how to live best in the space we have (that whole contentment struggle) and so that necessitates constant motion until we get it right.

Or until I get a new idea from Pinterest or the IKEA catalog and it’s back to the moving we go. Thank the Lord I have a tolerant husband who actually agrees with me about most of these projects.  Except when I change my mind halfway through.  Then he gets a tad frustrated and there might be some yelling strong discussions.

I was tempted just to show you the one picture.  Because it appears from that little corner that we might actually have a plan that is organized and working.  But that would be false advertising. Like telling you how there’s less than a 100 calories in a serving of Oreos.  That’s only true if you only eat one and who does that?

We do have a plan.  It’s just that each step scaffolds upon the other, and I can only handle so much chaos at one time. So for now, we have a corner.  And a couple of several messy closets. And rooms that really look like this.

Linking up with Crystal today to tell the story Behind the Scenes.  Join us over here!