family

The Art of Lounging

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"There remains then a Sabbath Rest for the people of God"

Gemütlichkeit.

Its quite a mouthful of a word, even when one is a fluent in the german language. Perhaps that is appropriate because in this tiny word, there is so much to be found- so much wonder squeezed into those 13 letters. Although we don't have a word quite like it in English, in German it means, "a space or situation that is warm and cozy, that induces a cheerful mood and peace of mind without a need to hurry or worry, and with a connotation of belonging and social acceptance." It sounds a lot like Home.

In the winter months especially, this warm and cozy atmosphere is sought out and crafted in Germany, as well as the Scandinavian countries that also bear harsh winters. Candles are lit, fires crackle in the hearth, tea kettles whistle often and families recreate indoors and out, intentionally, together and with cheer. Its as if the entire culture has recognized that to survive the months ahead, they must light a candle in their darkness, cultivate beauty and seek out meaningful community. They know warmth must be made, rest must be had, and that they ought not to be alone.

In North America, we are pretty horrible at resting. We are a people of extremes and we hate to slow down. We struggle to cease striving.

And yet, in myself I can feel in my very bones a crying out for sleep, for rest, for renewal. I long for the new life promised in the Spring, but I struggle to allow a season that is fallow to have any place in my life. The thing is? Without rest, nothing great is going to grow. Without that time underground, soaking up nutrients, building strength in the dark, those bulbs planted in the fall are never going to burst forth as glorious daffodils. Quiet seasons intentionally investing in our inner life matter greatly. They bear beautiful blossoms in due time. 

Read more about what I'm sharing about rest today HERE.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi friends! Just popping in to say Happy Thanksgiving! I woke this morning feeling unprepared and a little unfurled. This past week held work on marketing projects that started to eat up my calendar and my babes were struck with high fevers and up for hours each night. All the crafting I had planned didn't happen, all the historical readings I'd laid out remained still on their pages. My baking efforts resulted in one very simple apple pie and none of the Pinterest worthy cinnamon bun and bacon turkeys I'd dreamed of waking my children up with this morning.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is currently trumpeting just blocks from here and we are home, missing it.

Pretty much, this Thanksgiving feels like a big 'ol giant flop.

And yet somehow I woke today with hope bursting. I just had to share it. The reality of this day just hit me. . . . hard. Maybe more than ever because of my feelings of weakness and failure.

I've been pondering how interesting it is that it is this day that ushers in the holiday season. It is with a heart of thanks that we prepare for Immanuel.

To offer thanksgiving today means that we recognize that a gift has been given. 

To give thanks, first we must receive.

So, we enter into Advent this week, the season of waiting for the nearness of God, in anticipation for the greatest gift ever given, with hearts and lips fresh full of thanks.  

Do you know the gift?  

Have your hands opened and taken hold of the generosity of God? He has given us his very self and to live every day in the grace what has been offered to us in this season orients our hearts to a Person whose very nature breathes thanksgiving through us every day of the year.

Friends, may our thank you's today, be the first step in receiving 'God With Us.' He is here, even when we fall apart, even when we fail to meet our own expectations. He never fails us.

Happiest Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Kristen

 

 

Mapping the Geography of our Hearts and Affections {Remembering the Girl Who Sings}

I'm often asked if I want to return to the West. If the pressures of city life have squished us too far, if we have tired of apartment living, of navigating the urban grid and all the challenges that come with city life in general. 

Do I Ever Just Want to Go Home?

The answer is yes. Every. Single. Day.

And  the answer is no. Because somehow my life has become much greater than my own preferences and affections- and I'm even forging new ones.

The video shown above is my valley. It feels like home. Always. It is constant and full of my history- full of my family's history for several generations. Those mountains? They orient me. I never realized how much I relied on them to know north and south, east and west. I never realized how much I relied on them to know myself. . . . not until I'd left and seen that most of the world offered an endless expanse of flat land. Directionless. 

The geography in this valley is my comfort. Plucked from it, I have experienced a sense of loss, of being lost even. Without a compass, without sign posts and markers to map the way- how does one orient their heart? 

Where is our true north?

Taking a good look at what we long for is a great indicator of what we put our hope in, of what we cling to, what we defend at all costs. . . . . and where we direct our affections. I've had to ask myself what holds my affection most- what is my first love? Often, the answer has been whatever is known. In my past, in places I hold dear, in people I love. Then the whisper comes. . . "love the Lord will all your heart." Is Christ my first love? Is my home and rest and hope and satisfaction in him? 

There is only one love that will truly fulfill and make me sing. Our voices, our personalities and our passions are squelched when our hearts are restless, chasing after anything else to be anchored by.

We will never be free to say yes, to venture, to embrace, or to journey with God, until we let go. The prayer of my heart has become a song lately. Embrace and let go is the rhythm beneath the melody.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, where we walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. . .that my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior." -Oceans

I want to live wildly, and among the wild, because that is my calling- it's part of my story. 

I must choose whether to orient my heart to the past or to the story God is writing for me- however uncomfortable that makes me! 

This song has me asking- can I be called out to live in wild places for the benefit of others? My son also makes an appearance as the little boy running through the woods in this video. . . Thanks times a million to Andy Mineo for inviting him to take part in sharing the message of your music!

And that I may never forget that where I am right now is exactly where God has me. And maybe you too friend? 

What do you long for that keeps you from living life fully right where you are?

Where can we give thanks together for where God has you right now? What might the Spirit be nudging you to release to him so that you can take hold of something greater?

Praying that we may each rightly embrace what God has given us today-and let go of what grips our hearts and keeps us from a song of freedom. It's in that space that our true home starts to be seen to us as beauty. 

So thankful you are here,

Kristen  

 

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day With Jennifer Garner {and a Movie Giveaway!}

We all have those days. The ones we want to just put to sleep. The ones filled with alligator tears, with unimaginable mishaps, with impossibilities that make us feel like the universe is conspiring against us! 

Here are a few snippets from some of mine.

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On the left, meet Maia and Jones circa 2007. They hid in the bookshelf. My pregnant self fell asleep on the clock and couldn't find them anywhere. We missed their big sister's piano lesson, burned dinner and were a puddle of tears by the time daddy got home. . . . but hey, we have a really adorable picture now.

On the right? These are my little sweeties in 2010. Daddy was out of town and mommy decided to take on big projects in the apartment. This was after our third trip to Home Depot to buy supplies to repair my "improvements." I thought buying a plant would make me feel better- instead it made us a pariah to all cab drivers and we waited here, hungry (albeit together) for nearly an hour while a street parade barred us from public transportation. Fun times.

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This right here? This was our best attempt at taking a Christmas card photo back in 2009. Family closeness right there guys. I have no words. . . 

Perhaps that is why we resonated with this movie so so much! We all adore one another around here, but we struggle to walk through those days where everything seems like its against us. It was charming to see another family who love one another and are for one another experience a level of crazy all of us can understand. We laughed out loud....a lot.

After the screening, we had the joy of getting to talk to Jennifer Garner about life, motherhood and making movies. She is so delightful and was laser focused on making the kids in the room feel special. Her wise words on how to make it through a bad day? Be okay with feeling lots of things at once. Its ok to feel sad about moving on from something you loved, and also be excited about what is new.

And that messy tension is what makes movies like this full of such beauty. Our own bad days always hold hope all swirled together with the mess- and sometimes we can't see the grace, or beauty or hilarity in those moments until we look back on them later. 

Clinging to grace and a little laughter today too sweet friends,

xx

Kristen

Have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day story to share? Snap a picture of your craziness and sound off on Instagram with the hashtag #verybadday for a chance to win tickets to see the Alexander movie opening day! The winners will be chosen at random and contacted on Instagram. ***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED***

What Would You Give For True Joy?

Recently my sweet friend Misha asked me if I'd write about Joy over at her blog- more specifically "What I've learned about joy." I have loved Misha's writing for years and when we transplanted our crew to New York City, her own family's story was a huge encouragement to me! I was flat out honored that she asked me to share with her readers. The pursuit and internal fight for joy in my life has been a major theme for me the past two years and I felt that her invitation was a chance to bring all my thoughts together and spend some time reflecting on What I had actually learned. I knew I'd been in a thick process, but I honestly hadn't taken time to get all my thoughts on paper and form conclusions about the big lessons that had emerged.

I wrote an article and was ready to ship it off to her and then, in our sweet little hometown where we retreat for the summer, crises hit. Wildfires raging every summer is nothing new here, but this year the damage has been beyond what any of us who see "fire season" as the norm have ever experienced. All my thoughts shifted and I started to pour out something new in my journals. Misha was so gracious to let me send her something new, something birthed in the midst of fire that describes my heart so much better than that first draft! I'd love for you to join me at her blog, The Offense of Joy and read my thoughts about fighting for it. Then stick around and explore Misha's writing- it is such a gift!

Here's the direct link to my article: Finding Joy in the Middle of Fire

A Mom's Manifesto for Soaking Up All of Summer {Plus a Giveaway from Miraclesuit to Make it a Little Easier!}

I've been gloriously absent from the internet for a while, soaking up family time at the lake, enjoying lazy days playing cards, building forts, and watching my babies run through glistening sprinklers in the sunshine. Three weeks of bure bliss. . . . and then, as all things do, it came to an end. My husband had to fly across the country and get back to work, and while the beauty that he had three solid weeks to spend frolicking with us is not lost on me, I have found my self in quite a slump the last few days. 

The thing is? The end of vacation is not the same thing as the end of summer, it has so much glory to still share that is ours for the taking! 

I can keep slipping away into long days with little meaning or I can soak them up for all their worth, build into them with intention, and make a plan to enjoy the rest of this season to the hilt! To encourage myself, I wrote a little manifesto. I thought I'd share it for any other mamas needing a bit of mid-summer moxi. Plus, using the word manifesto makes me feel serious and professional- there's no messing with a manifesto, you know? Its all about legit goal setting right here. So without further adieu, I give you:

A Mom's Manifesto for Soaking up All of Summer

 1. I Will Not be Afraid to go Slow.

I will not fight, but will instead, savor, the quieter rhythm of these days. I will enjoy my coffee in small sips, and remember that it is a luxury not to have to warm it at least twice in the microwave (whereby it loses a bit of its coffee bean soul each time.) I will welcome pajamas and tousled hair and jelly on faces and delight in my children's pleasure of the freedom this season brings.

2. I Will Not Sit on the Sidelines.

I will put on my swimsuit, despite my curvy edges and squishy tummy that make me blush now and then. I will show my children that mothers are strong and courageous, that we are proud of the bodies that bore them. I will show them that I am fierce and playful and theirs, and that diving for rings and holding my breath in a contest to infinity is much more precious to me than hiding all the jiggly parts of myself. 

3. I Will Become an Explorer and Lead My Children toward Adventure

In the simplest of moments, I will guide them into wonder. I will hunt for it, for the sake of my own heart and theirs. We will frolic in the cool grass and picnic, we will collect insects and sketch flower petals and spend as many afternoons as we can deciphering the pictures of the clouds. We will howl at the moon and stargaze, and build forts and sandcastles- and I will be okay with the dirt that will surely cover us because it is the sign of a day well spent.

4. I will Not See the Summer as Half Empty

It may be mid July, but I refuse to dwell on the idea that the summer as nearly over. Instead, I will embrace the mid-summer dream, ala' Shakespeare and see this day as one of the fullest, where the sunshine lingers longer than any other time of year, where whimsy abounds and where I have the opportunity to show my kids that I am ALL in for ALL of summer (not just the first half where I was full of energy and ideas, ahem).

5. I will Not be Afraid to Let Fun Reign

I will let the popsicles drip, let my kids stay in their swimsuit all day long, let a sprinkler count for bath time occasionally and be perfectly ok with only serving chips and salsa for dinner every once in a while. I will recognize that the blessing of these days comes in the form of something other- in a rhythm that is loose and in the bug eyed looks of amazement from my children when their mama says "yes, let's do that!" more often than any other time of the year.

6. I Will End These Days Well

I will close out our days with a with songs and beautiful books and back rubs, with soft sheets and cuddles and words of delight. Even when I am drained, I will let the last thing they see before closing their eyes, be a smile from me and a whisper for an invitation to play again tomorrow. Because, I only have one summer with these little people at these little ages in my home. This is it and I'm going to choose to love every moment.

Miraclesuit Giveaway- Valued at Up to $200!

 

As we talk about soaking up all of summer, I have to be honest about one thing that has held me back in recent years- putting on a swimsuit. I'm fighting hard to be strong and restore wellness in my life (and the life of my family), but in the place I have found myself in recent years I've been left feeling all shades of self conscious.

Recently I had the chance to meet the amazing PR team at Miracle Suit. It only took knowing them for about 30 minutes to bring me to tears. These women were so encouraging, so life giving and ALL about empowering women to feel beautiful. I was chosen to model a suit at the MomTrends Trendy Travel Event in Manhattan and was a little nervous about the idea of wearing a swimsuit in front of fellow bloggers and the press! I was given several suits to try on and, truly, I couldn't believe what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I couldn't believe how great I felt. I had to touch up my makeup before pictures because I cried hugging the Miraclesuit team. I knew that I could soak up this summer with my kiddos with confidence- and I really hadn't recognized how much that mattered to me until that moment.

Miraclesuit is known for making swimsuits that make you "look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds," and its a magical moment when you see that happen for you in one of their suits. What I was more impressed with though? The amazing quality and structure. I absolutely love their styles- they are fashion forward and always on trend, but these suits stay put. I can literally run all day, run on the beach or dive in the pool again and again with without worrying about any slipping or sliding or adjustments to be made in order to preserve my modesty. As investment pieces, these suits will last- no more buying a suit here and there every year and hoping it will get me through the season- I will pull out my Miraclesuits for many summers to come.

I am beyond thrilled to be partnering with Miraclesuit today to offer one of their suits to one of you! Squee!!! I don't know if I've ever been this excited to share something with you. Its a big kiss to my readers from the middle of summer sunshine. You can enter using the rafflecopter below until Friday at midnight EST. You can even enter multiple days in a row by sharing on social media or get multiple entries by commenting. The winner will be connected with the lovely team at Miraclesuit (the sweet ladies that brought me to tears) and able to have the suit they love best delivered straight to their home next week! 

Good luck friends!

Reality, Math and the Homeschool

{From the Archives, but too good not to share on a day when I feel flattened by helping my daughter with quadratic equations}

Ever heard stories about kids in high school coming down with panic attacks and cold sweats before geometry? Or who crammed for weeks upon weeks to meet college math requirements for graduation? That was me.

Last month, a well meaning teller gave me a sweet little hand pat along with a pamphlet about women learning how to be in control of their finances. This was after I responded to her question about one of our accounts with, “Oh, I have no idea. My husband handles all of that. Should I call him?” Lovely.

Dayton Art Institute

Dayton Art Institute

Being the self-analyzing person that I am, I have determined that this all stems from numbers not meaning much to me in general. In my education, as beautiful as it was, I honestly lacked a context of understanding real world problems. I also missed out on the beauty of mathematics in every day life, how it was nestled into things that I cherished like the rhythm and measure of classical music (or more likely for me in those days, Nirvana), the pretty spiral of a shell on the beach or the symmetry of a pinecone’s perfect decent from its tip, not to mention the proportions necessary for making perfect whip cream. 

Pinecone by hulihoo

Pinecone by hulihoo

And right in the middle of my own weakness, I am questioning, as I always do, “Can I teach my children…with this gapping hole in my own knowledge?” Do I delegate, do I refer them to someone else? Maybe. Probably.

My plight with math has been a long one, and although I don’t see a natural end in sight, I am beginning to see the beauty of its nature and the logic of things all around me. I think, in many ways, being unsure is equipping me to teach this subject with greater gusto. I am more determined to prepare my children well for a world where numbers are inevitable, and to bring a sense of wonder to their math studies. I am more apt to teach this subject from a place of humility and am pricked by the sense that I need to have the same heart approaching all our other studies.

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I’m on the prowl for life-giving resources and experiences that go beyond equations on paper and I am discovering  and learning because of my duty to teach. Along with my children, I am finding with new eyes the way math infiltrates life around us and my own educational ‘hump’ is becoming smaller in the process, and a little less daunting day after day.

What areas are daunting to you as a teacher of your children? How do you combat them and carry on?

Our favorite Math resources:

Teaching Textbooks

Family Math

Living Math

Chicago University Press Math Classes at The Potter's School

Thirteen Years A Mother

So, my baby turns thirteen today. 

Thirteen. I have been a mother for thirteen years.

Apart from occasionally choking up over her beauty, intellect, wit and general independence, I think I'm doing ok. Spending these years with my girl, witnessing and nurturing every aspect of her life and development, bearing burdens, sharing experiences, adventuring, laughing, struggling. . . . its about the sweetest thing ever. Our children really do grow and become our best friends and confidants, and to be for this girl, to be privileged to launch her into the journey before her? Overwhelming grace.

There is, not surprisingly though, some reflection and mama soul-searching going on over here too. I have no regrets. Who I am now as a mother and all my deep convictions were forged little by little along the way. But, when I look back at my 22 year-old new mom self in this photo? I wish I could hug her and let her know a few things. The wisdom of years from where I sit now would have made life so much easier for her- and maybe more meaningful in the long days that consumed her. So, for all my friends at the beginning of this road (or anywhere along the way, really), I offer a veritable passing of the torch: thirteen things I wish I'd known about being a mom right from the start.

1. The time your children are little goes by too fast.

No really. Its not just something your grandmother said all the time. They fly by. These years pile up and in no time at all you really are sniffling over the fact that you aren't helping anyone to take a bath or go to the bathroom. The small moments are the big moments. Don't miss them. There will be a day when your child doesn't want you to color beside them, when there are no more imaginary tea parties, when they would rather text a friend than snuggle close to read a story with you and even...when they will just walk into their room and go to sleep without giving notice. Its beautiful and weird, but mostly just gone too quick.

2. No amount of advice will ever replace your gut. 

We read the books, we talked to friends....everyone swore by a method, and so we decided to play the let-her-cry-it-out game. The thing is, I hated every single second of it. It worked for nearly everyone around us at the time, but it didn't work for me. It certainly got the job done, we had a baby who slept like a dream, but I didn't feel right, I didn't feel like me. I fought my own instincts hard on many issues like this. I wish I'd leaned in and just trusted what felt right for my personality and my family. It takes a while to gain courage as a mom, to get in the habit of how to choose what works for you, which is probably different than what is working for your best friend or your sister. I can promise you though, its worth fighting for and its glorious when you realize that diversity rocks, and that your difference of opinion on child-rearing is what makes life sweet.

3. As tired as you are with babies and toddlers underfoot, enjoy it. It is nothing compared to the exhaustion that is coming.

I know you don't want to hear that, but its true. When your children are little, you have a certain ability to control their schedules, keep everyone together, catch some zzzzzzzs or get things done while they take a nap. All that goes away as they get into school, begin playing sports, take dance classes, and you then you are shuffling them between all that and hang time with their friends. You will wake early and make lunches and get everyone out the door, or prepare your home for the day of learning ahead and desperately want to fall asleep by 9pm. You will collapse right at the precise moment your tween needs you to listen to their heart with rapt attention, and you will stay awake to soak it all in night after night. You will literally have to fight for self-care and margin and sleep. Somehow you will still love and adore it all.

4. You are stronger than you think you are.

You can do more, do it faster and do it on less sleep than you ever thought possible. You will grow into your mama skin. You will build muscle in mind and body and spirit that will sustain the work that will fill your days.  

5. Establishing habits and rhythms early will save you later.

This job gets sweeter, but also crazier. More and and more gets added in. Take time now to refine the grooves of your days as a family so you have a sure foundation. The same goes with those little foxes that catch us up- the eye rolling, the shoulder shrugging, the little things that are borderline endearing, yet totally diva like in a young child? Those things don't go away, they just get bigger. Deal with them now while they are small. Lead your child in the way she should go. Such care and attention is a gift to her, and to you.

6. Every child is different. Don't let comparison into your heart or home. It will crush you.

From first words, to baby sign language, crawling, walking, reading, riding a bike . . . . every single child is different, even amongst your own. Stop comparing right now. Look your child fresh in the face, really see them for who they are, recognize the glory of this little person and be okay with their pace. Every child will learn to eat with a fork, will eventually write their name and master their multiplication tables. You will never regret making a choice to focus on helping them enjoy the process, and not just reach the goal.

7. You can't do this alone, and your children will be better off if you don't try to.

My 10 year old used to ride her two wheeler like a champ. She was 6 when we moved and had only been at this big kid skill for a few months before transitioning to life in NYC. Our move shook her up, and as much as my husband and I encouraged her and offered rewards, she stubbornly refused to ride again. She believed she didn't know how and wouldn't let us tell her any different. 

It took a visit from grandma and grandpa to get her cycling again.  Without mom and dad, she took in a special date with her grandparents in the park, regaining her confidence and overcoming her fear. My in-laws were able to communicate with my daughter in a way her mommy and daddy could not. They have a bond with her, and share a love and and wealth of experiences with her (and all my children), of which I am not a part.

In my early years, I wanted to be up in every single aspect of my children's lives. I wanted to observe, approve and micro-manage them every moment. I struggled to trust anyone else with their care, or with their hearts.

The thing I've learned after all these years is that I can't do it all. I can't be everything. My children need other adults who are invested in them, who love them, who are on their team. They need trusted community to turn to when they have questions, they need other adults who pour into their lives in ways that my husband and I just can not. I need them too. I need to pick up the phone and have help. I need wisdom. Sometimes I just need to know there is a safe place for my kids to go so I can get a breath. 

It is worthwhile to cultivate their relationships with a bevy of relatives and friends who can bolster their hearts and come along side your family. I wish I had done it much, much sooner.

8. There is no "right" way to do this mothering thing.

I homeschool. I'm home all day with my crew. It works for me. It works for my kids. It doesn't work for everyone. Some of my dearest friends send their kids to school. Others work with incredible diligence and skill, bringing their gifts to the marketplace. Some have nannies and friends who pitch in and help with the sweetest love and abandon. Some of us reading here are classical educators, others montessori. Some still, love their kids something fierce and yet have zero opinion about what they are doing in the classroom with their teachers each day. Some of us use time outs, others count to three, some eat organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, dye-free, free-free. None of us are right, or wrong in these gray areas. We are all doing the best we can. We all care.

There is wisdom, and there are principles that we must build our lives around and nurture our families within; there are wise choices to be made and consequences when they are rejected, but there is also great freedom. There is no such thing as perfection. Your puzzle is unique and one of the greatest (and craziest) parts of being a mom is learning how to make it fit together each day. Don't be afraid to re-jigger and change. There is no perfect, or best way to do this job.

9. You don't need to be so serious all the time to be serious about motherhood.

Your children want you to laugh. They want you to be silly and twirl and sing at the top of your lungs; they want you to giggle so much your sides hurt, to play and run and do cartwheels and get dirty. They want to see you enter their world with lightness of heart. They will learn how to do this themselves from watching you.

10. Your children are not perfect. They will mess up. A lot. You will do well to be really comfortable with that.

Its not a reflection on you. Its a sign that they are human. Give them grace. Give yourself grace. Remember the patience and love offered to you by God when you struggle and rest in his promises for your kids. This is the long game, the epic story of a beautiful life lived. No life will go by without heaps of mistakes. Don't be shocked by their sin. The times when they struggle are the times they will need you to believe in the very best of them more than ever. They will need you to remind them of their true selves. You must.

11. Little things really are little things. Let them go.

Messy bathrooms, untidy closets, the mayhem that is your kitchen every night after dinner- don't let it get to you. Sibling tiffs happen. Bad attitudes are guaranteed after little sleep or worn down immune systems. The lists you likely have in your mind this very moment, full of small tasks that need your attention- don't let them consume you. There are bristly, uncomfortable moments in every family, little things that we all wish we could change, and by God's grace, day by day, some of those things will change! But some of them won't. Some of the things you think are a big deal? They're not. Bust out like Ilse and just Let. It. Go. Really.

12. Your relationship with your children is going to look really different than your husband's relationship with them- Lucky you!

For so long, I thought that being a team with my man in this parenting thing meant that we were going to do everything together. That led to a lot of conflictMy days with my kids and the type of care and nurture that is a part of my relationship with them is distinctly different than my husband's. We work in sync, we pray for one another, we communicate and connect and have a shared vision for life in our home, but our roles are really different. There is great beauty in that. He will never fully 'get' the balance and swing of my homeschooling and housekeeping days, the juggling and transporting that goes on for me every day. Its not his job. Thankfully, that means he is freed up to enter into the evening routine here with a freshness I happen to lack at 6pm each day! He is able to focus on areas of development that I am not, see things I don't see, and care for our kids in ways that don't come naturally to me. The gifts and talents your husband will impart to your kids are going to be different than the ones you pass on. The way he relates, jokes, questions and encourages them is probably going to be completely different than the way you would do it. Lucky everyone!  Because remember? You can't do this alone, or be everything to your children . . . . and that's a good thing. 

13. To everything there is a season.

You don't have to cram everything you've ever wished for in your life into one small stretch of time. Its okay to put some things on hold and focus on the season of life with children in your home. Pace yourself and don't miss the gifts right in front of you. 

Because just like that? Your baby will be a teenager too.

What would you add, mamas? What have you learned along the way? Drop your wisdom on us in the comments!

 

Living Room Idea Board

Ikea is wooing me (as always) with their fab small space solutions. I love the look of those glass door, wall mounted shelves and the industrial feel of the mint green hutch. The wood and metal accents feel almost country cozy, with just enough edge to make it in Manhattan.

Ikea is wooing me (as always) with their fab small space solutions. I love the look of those glass door, wall mounted shelves and the industrial feel of the mint green hutch. The wood and metal accents feel almost country cozy, with just enough edge to make it in Manhattan.

One thing about life in an apartment is that its always giving me reasons to re-evaluate the way we use our space. Most of our things have followed us since our early married days- they're a little tattered and in need of some updating. Small space living keeps me intentional about how we live, what items we use in our day to day life and how we store it all. I'm finding I'm drawn more and more to neutrals (and gasp! White walls!) that allow me to change the look of my space in small ways in various seasons and also enlarge the room by keeping the palate fresh and clean. Here's some of my favorite inspirations right now.

Apartment Therapy blends the cozy and modern vibe so well here! I love the soft textures and floral curtains paired with the sleek tv console and coffee table.

Apartment Therapy blends the cozy and modern vibe so well here! I love the soft textures and floral curtains paired with the sleek tv console and coffee table.

Refinery 29 knows how to pull off orange! I love how livable and (large?) this space looks. The height of the plant, the dreamy chaise for space saving seating- so pretty! 

Refinery 29 knows how to pull off orange! I love how livable and (large?) this space looks. The height of the plant, the dreamy chaise for space saving seating- so pretty! 

Smitten Studios Online  has won me over completely. I am absolutely drooling over her living room. Be sure to click over and check it out!

Smitten Studios Online has won me over completely. I am absolutely drooling over her living room. Be sure to click over and check it out!

Design Sponge  has inspired me that I can make any size space look amazing with the photos of this little studio! Wow.

Design Sponge has inspired me that I can make any size space look amazing with the photos of this little studio! Wow.

I can't escape my love of emerald couches like this one from  Melisa Mercier . And that coffee table? Perfection.

I can't escape my love of emerald couches like this one from Melisa Mercier. And that coffee table? Perfection.

My love of grayscale couches continues with these great finds via Design Sponge

The textures here are like...whoa.

The textures here are like...whoa.

Are you on Pinterest? I'd love to go follow you and check out your own inspiration! Leave your username in the comments? And tell me what you're digging here...I need help! 

Awakening Wonder

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Mornings here....

Look quiet and cozy lately. We are all waking just a bit later, going just a bit slower. Its a bit of a fog really, this is the time of year that always finds me questioning if what we are doing in our homeschool is enough. The days feel a bit lazy, we've settled into our rhythm enough to know how to bend and break the rules, and then we begin to lose our sense of routine altogether.  We've been plugging away at learning goals long enough to see the gaps (right along side the progress, but the gaps tend to stick out most to the isolated mothers teaching at home, don't they?) After the sparkle of the holidays fade, I can even find myself feeling a little stuck. I know my children feel it too. We reach a place each winter where wonder has faded and we are just going through the motions.

When I feel like this, I tend to freak out that we might not meet our yearly goals and its really easy for me to think we need to do more workbooks, toughen up our load of the fundamentals and in every way make our lessons even more dull. After a week of torture, I'm typically ready to quit, I'm researching charter schools on the internet and then...and then.... I circle back to where I should have began in the first place- in quiet prayer.

Inevitably, the quieting of my own heart is the game changer. Renewal in those moments always comes when I ask one question: Why are we doing  this, why are we really, pouring ourselves into days schooling at home? Why did we get into this in the first place? And, is it central to how we are living out our present? Our yesterday and tomorrow? The answer that follows, usually poured out among the pages of my journal, becomes the vision and sustaining force for the rest of our school year. 

Maybe this is what January is for? To shake us up and settle us down into something true, to traumatize us as we reach the end of our own wills and to give us cause to fight for lasting vision.

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So why are you doing this? Have you asked yourself lately? 

To connect with hearts. To inspire. To live beautifully. To let learning spill over and mingle with real life. To avoid the stodgy classroom. To experience flexibility and adventure together. To watch eyes brighten right in front of you. To reclaim your own education. To meet out of the box needs. To be together. To embrace home.

My reasons might be very similar or very different from your own, but  I'm guessing we could all use a reminder of them. I'm often asked what books inspire me, and I keep coming back to the same old few. Like true friends they remind me, year after year, about the "why" of homeschooling. Spending time in their pages refreshes and awakens wonder in my heart to keep me going. In no way an exhaustive list, here they are. I pray they can awaken the same wonder in you and help you kindle your mid winter spark. 

For the Children's Sake 

Transformative for our family.  Susan Schaeffer Macauley is the daughter of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, whose theological and practical writings have greatly impacted us as well. She shares her own family's journey toward finding an educational philosophy that embraced Biblical discipleship and dignified children. A must read.

Educating the Whole Hearted Child

Written by our dear friends and mentors, no other book has changed the course of our family's life (save the Bible) like this one. It is life-giving, casting a vision for home and learning that has literally steered the course for us. Intelligent, practical and wise, it is the book we visit again and again.

Charlotte Mason Companion

This book nurtures my heart as a mom. I feel inspired and cared for every time I visit its pages. Poetic and gentle, reading it at once gives practical wisdom you can implement right away, and leaves you feeling as if you've just had coffee with a dear friend. Highly recommended. 

When Children Love to Learn

A wonderful follow- up to Schaeffer-Macauley's book, this is written by the celebrated educators and founders of Ambleside International Schools. It offers a practical curriculum approach using Charlotte Mason's methods for children learning in school or at home. Also wonderful for traditional educators and parents!

A Home Start in Reading

So often in the little years, the task of teaching reading feels monumental. This book simplifies and gives a practical step by step approach you can implement right away (at any stage of teaching a child to read). This year, as I teach two older children, the task of teaching reading to my younger two, who need a very intentional and watchful eye, is overwhelming to me- this book is worth its weight in gold. So thankful for Beechick's frank and common sense style. Like having a mentor or reading specialist right along with you.

Read for the Heart

My friend Sarah is a brilliant storyteller. After a childhood grounded in delightful literature, there is no one I trust more to help me pick a title for my own children. She has compiled the loveliest collection of books for every topic and area of study here in Read for the Heart. If your children are longing for inspiration through story this winter, you'll find titles to share with them here. A must have for every family library.

So what would you add to the list? What are your go-to's that nourish you along this road? What do you pull out again and again?

A Ministry of Letters

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“You deserve a longer letter than this; but it is my unhappy fate seldom to treat people so well as they deserve.” - Jane Austen

I've always had a charming scene in my mind where I envision my days at a beautiful old- fashioned secretary, sunlight glowing through the windows, billowy sheer curtains flowing in the breeze. I'd sit and write, sharing ideas and scripture and anecdotes about life with all the friends we've met living and traveling all over the globe. The environment where I write and read is vastly different than that of my imagination, but connecting through letters still nourishes my soul with a depth I crave.

In the age of quick glimpses through facebook and instagram, we may very well be the most connected ever, have the most up to the minute information about one another's lives and yet in all our knowing, lack the intimacy that is at the very core and heart of beautiful friendship.

It has been said that those who write letters, are often the people who may not need to. Meaning, at the very essence of letter writing is a personality that excels at the art of communication. While this is likely true, I stand firmly on the side of the line that believes there is a great need to cultivate this art, and to practice a ministry of connection and encouragement through the written word. Excellence rarely trods through the room on its own, it must be carried in by a series of small choices that willfully chose something "other," and differ in the investments made by common will.

52 Weeks + 52 Letters + 52 Hearts

We start off our New Year with lists and to-dos and ideas swirling about how to live better, do more, to grow and change to fit into the shape of life we hold in our minds eye don't we? I want to be more well read, more disciplined, have toned biceps (all good things, for sure!) Somewhere along the shuffle of forming my own goals for 2014 though, I realized just how much they were about, well...me

What if the very fabric of a beautiful 2014 lies in the pouring out of my life, not the bolstering of it? What if the way that I will see clarity of purpose and calling and growth is in a simple offering? What if 2014 is the year to reclaim the art of heart connection with souls in my sphere and under my care?

So, I'm writing 52 letters this year. One each week.

I'm actually writing and stamping and mailing a humble offering of 52 pieces of paper to touch 52 hearts. I'm trusting that God will give me words to shine light in the darkness of winter, to pour out in ink the beauty I see in sisters and brothers and families, to be hope and community. In my own places of quiet, may He bring ideas and literature and truth from his Word that can be copied into pages offered up as a meal for the heart to my friends. 

The bolstering of others is what I want this year to be about. 

Will you join me? Join the movement to love wildly, to differ in the investments you make on behalf of others? To reinvent and upend our modern notions of connection? Who in your life needs a lifeline of hope? 

Build- A-Bear Comes to FAO Schwarz!

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Last Friday, my darling girl and I were able to take a tour and fully experience the grand opening of the Build- A- Bear Workshop inside of the iconic FAO Schwarz toy store here in Manhattan. The ribbon cutting event benefitted the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club and as their chairman shared about his heart for them, the faces of these children, able to walk through the new store and take a special bear home, simply lit up! It doesn't get much better than seeing a roomful of adult volunteers and parents speak encouragement into children's lives and share the experience of creating a special bear along side them. 

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After the ribbon was cut, it was our turn to see this new store for ourselves! This Build-A- Bear workshop is the first of its kind in digital innovation. Always big on the experience and memories made by guests within the Workshop itself, Build-A-Bear has implemented features throughout the store that bring this brand into a new era of technology, but will feel right at home to kids growing up in the age of the ipad.

The first step is to pick which animal you'd like to take home. Right now, there are heaps of options that celebrate the holidays, from Santa, to Rudolph and Frosty, as well as the traditional bears, bunnies and monkeys.

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Next, children select a heart and add in all sorts of lovely qualities like, they'd like to embody their new friend. Our monkey happens to be happy, playful and sporty. There was also a station to add in sounds or even recorded messages. 

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I'm sharing the rest of the story over at The New York Mom today. Join me there by clicking over?

Why You Won't See Much of My Big Kids Online

Instagram has got to be one of my favorite tech apps of all time- its easy to use, easy to edit photos on, doesn't leave my pictures looking too "over done" and it makes it easy to share pics on multiple avenues of social media with one click. Saavy moms unite- I love it!  Upon closer inspection, though, as I'm documenting our days and sharing life with friends, family, and fellow bloggers alike, there is one thing noticeably missing from my Instagram photos: two of my kids.  

Exhibit A:

Its not just on Instagram either, its everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, my blog- My older girls rarely make an appearance online and when you do see them? Its only when I have their express permission. I hear from blogging friends all the time that their older children are recoiling a bit as well, putting up a stink whenever the iphones come out to snap a photo, asking to preview what gets posted, check the angle of a close-up, and quite often asking for their photos to stay offline completely. For those of us traveling this path with older kids, its worthy of our attention to consider their preferences and understand what's going on. As my offering to the discussion, here's what I've learned so far:

My kids are keenly aware of the subtlety between a life lived with them and a life that has been curated to look good, show off, or develop a brand (as we bloggers like to say), and I think yours are too.

They know the difference between sharing a sweet family moment and hauking a lifestyle on twitter, between celebrating their birthday with honor and pomp and handmade bunting that is all for them, and having a reason to snap photos of mad cake baking and decor skills. 

Of course these things are not mutually exclusive (ahem, please note not one, but two ombre cakes in the photo above).  Each of us shares special events and accomplishments, adventures and glimpses of beauty throughout our days. The ease of smartphones has caused many of us to capture moments we otherwise might have missed.

I've come to depend on technology to bring a dimension of connectivity to relationships that no generation before mine has ever known. From across the country, I was able to watch my nephew ride his bike for the first time without training wheels, see my sister's classroom in nearly real time as she entered it for her first day of teaching, and I know that my parents thought the lighting in their new Indian restaurant was a little dark and creepy before the waiter had even taken their order. (Its so beautiful, its basically like I'm there, people!)

That's the what we love about this medium, right? That's why we can't seem to get enough. 

Social media offers us a glimpse into the lives of loved ones and friends in far flung corners of the earth. We get to be there, in a weird digital, not quite kind of way. It unites our common experience, enlarges our conversations, gives us insight into worlds our feet have never traveled to, and can even ignite a passion within us to champion causes that prick our hearts. Social media gives us a way bigger village and even, in many cases, (I cringe as I type, but I'm talking to you my fellow bloggers), a platform. 

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However, the part our kids play in this social media world reminds me of when our family gathered for big dinners during my childhood. As cousins we would create elaborate shows-  knock knock jokes, sketches in grandma's wool coat and pearls...we relished in the oohs and aahs and obligitory giggles and cheers from the rest of the family.

Social media has just extended the couch.

More adults have piled in to see the show and for those kids with a flair for the dramatic, or who happen to be having a particularly outgoing, extroverted kind of day, it can be a whole lot of fun. 

But what happens when the party is over, and with tummies full, families load back in cars headed home? What happens to the andecdotes shared on the long drive home, to the burps and resulting laughter, to the photo captured in the moonlight of the sleepy toddler who has never looked more angelic? What happens to the conversations about literature read aloud over a flashlight in the backseat, or to your husband's comment on politics sparked by listening to NPR along the way? What happens to the Journey anthem belted with bravery into the wind while the windows are rolled way down and you all launch into a stargazing hunt for Venus overhead? 

There are moments in a family that should be only yours. There are stories you must  tell, messages you must weave and art you must craft in no other place but the very hearts of your children. 

Those moments will be quiet and personal and only yours. They will be times of delight and joy, or they very well may be the times that stretch you, exhaust you and make you weary- but they are the very times that will build integrity into your children's inner lives and knit you together as a family. Our children need this, and honestly, so do you. Because when nothing is ours alone, and when nothing is just theirs...when what we choose to show off of family life is all there is, our real lives will be left wanting.

As my children grow, they are telling me they want a lot more of just us and a lot less of all of you, and it is my great delight to give them just that.

So until they tell me otherwise, in my public life, its very likely I'll look like a mother of only two, or you might just see the back of two tween heads for a while- and I wouldn't have it ANY other way. Someday they'll be ready to share their own story, but until then, I'm going to guard it as it grows with everything I've got.

With grace and hope,

Kristen

Trick-or- Treat For UNICEF and Disney's Laura Marano!

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Halloween has got to be one of my very favorite holidays- especially in New York. Its always been a sweet time for our family to connect with neighbors while we walk together or share cider, love on kids that otherwise wouldn't likely knock on our door, and ooh and ahh at the creativity of kiddos walking past us on the street. In New York, there seem to be block parties everywhere, streets where neighborhood associations have blocked off traffic so kids can walk safely... and these groups go ALL OUT to make it a great adventure for kids. I found myself overwhelmed by the gift they gave our kids this year- one group of guys dressed as mad scientists had even set up a table with glowing "potions" and slime for the kids to play with and they looked truly delighted by the experience! Other folks had decorated the fronts of brownstones to the hilt...it all made for such a fun night! 

This year, was also special because we were Trick- or- Treating with a cause! We were so honored to get to kick off the celebration with a focus on helping under priveleged children alongside one of our favorite Disney stars- Laura Marano! We joined The Moms and other bloggers at Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC to teach our children about how they can be empowered to help other kids on Halloween by raising funds for UNICEF's programs that provide clean water, nutrition, immunizations and education to children around the world. I was so moved by the message UNICEF shared and loved watching my own children come alive to the reality that they had the ability to do something to help others in a simple way. To learn more about UNICEF's programs and how you can get involved, click on the logo below and join us! Hope you had a great Halloweenie!

xx

Kristen

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A Fall Get Away - A Seasonal Anchor of Renewal

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Oh Autumn, you used to be my very favorite. Inviting me in to snuggle with books under blankets and hot tea in hand, putting your wild colors on display, and your wind whisping through my hair sometimes made me feel like a movie star. I craved your fresh start feeling and your new school supplies and was so so thankful that you made it ok to eat pumpkin and cinnamon and apples at every meal. I thought I would love and adore you all my days, truly. But, Autumn, we've suffered a break-up and I don't know that I ever even let you in on the fact.

Something slowly started to change as my children grew older, September wasn't just about the gorgeous temperatures or Harvest abundance, but became more about kissing summer's saltiness and sunshine goodbye. It meant welcoming a rhythm of routine and, maybe even more painful...responsibilities. There's never truly any vacation for mothers, but sipping an iced toddy every afternoon while the babes splashed in the pool sure felt nice, and even, dare I say...free? 

I'm open to reconsidering our relationship, but Autumn, could you just please go out of your way to wow me this year? This girls needs some Fall glory something fierce if its ever going to be the same. 

Love, Kristen (the one in New York, on the Upper West Side...near the park, so (ahem) extra folliage effort by the resevoir would be so appreciated)

All jesting aside, the reality is that my aversion to fall runs deep. As of late, it has been the harbinger of grief in my life. One of the reasons I haven't blogged much in a year is because when death is all that is happening in your life, you just question how much of it to share with readers who want to hear about homeschooling and the joys of raising a crew of kids. I wondered if the bitterness I was fighting fiercely would fade as my words hit the page, if joy would shine through, if truth would prevail, or if you would all see straight through to my heart- for real- and bitter would be what I passed on. 

But this Autumn? Its business as usual. I could barely remember what that felt like until my husband whisked us away to the pumpkin patch last weekend. I drank it in. The beauty and memories and Apple Cider doughnuts? They redeemed as season I had begun to dread. Until the last few years, every October of my life has been about taking in fall colors: thermoses of cocoa packed, sweaters on, cameras ready and sweet oohs and ahhs from all of us. Its a steady force to celebrate the changing of seasons the same way time and time again throughout your childhood- and the passing on of the tradition? It makes it all the sweeter.

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Maybe that's all it takes? Just jumping in again and committing to make a memory worth keeping together? To steal away with those we love and shout a giant "whoo-hoo!!" from our car windows as we let the road take us away? To welcome our children into the midst of a great adventure- even if the reward is simple? Oh that my heart would remember that its not always about where we travel, but the thing is just to...move.

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So how will you cast an anchor to welcome Fall? What are some of your favorite traditions from your childhood that you want to pass on to your own babes?

 

 

On Creating Sacred Space

 In my adult life I have lived in three different countries and the Pacific Islands. I’ve settled into eleven different homes in my thirteen years of marriage.  (Really. Eleven!) After all the moves, all the starting over and after being the “new girl” again and again, I’ve come to to long for places that are familiar, that anchor me in time and space, places that nurture a sense of safety and stability. I’ve come to long for home  in the deepest parts of my heart with an ache I can only just begin to describe with words.

When our family moved from Germany to the United States, my husband and I found ourselves back in our hometown, rather penniless and rather tired… and right in the middle of the dry season. The caramel yellow of the hills and the constant dust seemed to echo a fatigue that matched our own. We had lived in a 12th century hunting castle in Bavaria, steeped in rich community on a missionary base, and I found myself often longing for the green of the hills that surrounded our small village, for the food and shared tables and quiet of the country. Among the strip malls and billboards of the western United States, I craved the sights of old architecture: churches and buildings lovingly updated and restored through the centuries, looking forward, but not quite letting go of the past. My oldest was just two years old at the time and in my days of caring for her and entrenched in the mundane tasks of setting up a new home that I wasn’t very fond of, I sensed a growing discontent with my surroundings, with relationships, with our pauper circumstances- it all felt so bland and gray a little hopeless.

My daughter and I had visited all the libraries, parks, pools and riverbanks I could remember from my own childhood and on a lark, I decided to do a bit of exploring.  I was on a quest, really, willing myself to find something that would stir excitement.  We found ourselves at a small French bakery I’d enjoyed visiting in high school. Appropriately named The Anjou for its location nestled in the heart of a beautiful pear orchard, the scene was idyllic!  The bakery had transformed an old barn into a haven, with a front porch lavished in flower pots and the sweet smell of fruit ripening in the orchard to engulf our senses.  I was captivated by the simple beauty of the place as we savored butter croissants and patted the head of the resident old lab, Fritz.

At that very moment, something awakened in my heart. I became aware of the lime green patio furniture and the contrast it brought out in the grooves of the old slab floor, my baby girl’s dimpled hands seemed softer than ever as she held on to me, and her laughter was infectious as she played with the dog that was bigger than she was. The sun in our eyes lit up that space and I drank in every single drop. I felt at home, not in memory or association, but in a sentimental feeling, in the connection that was knit between the beauty of this bakery and my own personality. 

This physical place had an unspoken ability to nourish my soul and fill it with beauty and light at a time when everything else felt as dry as the hills. 

Just being there felt right, and for the first time in weeks, I saw my life through a lens of beauty and hope, instead of dust . . . . .Read the rest HERE

 

Remembering 9/11

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Origininally published September 11, 2011

This is a picture from my window of the memorial lights for the Twin Towers on the Eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 

Ten years ago, I was waking up with my six month old, groggy from a night time feeding, cuddling and cooing as I touched her button nose and she giggled back. We were preparing to leave my parents’ home after an extended weekend visit and my mom had left for work before we could say goodbye. She called four or five times before I realized I should answer her phone. 

“We are under attack, my building is on lockdown, turn on the tv.” I remember asking what on earth she meant, under attack by a gunman? This was only a couple years after the Columbine shootings, and new procedures had been set in place at her school. Any other attack was inconceivable to me. It just didn’t seem in the scope of possibility at all. She was crying now, “The Pentagon has been hit, the World Trade Center, there is another attack heading toward the White House.” I went absolutely numb. I woke my husband, relaying what I could, and I only remember the look of shock on his face and that I have never seen him move so fast. 

When we turned on the television, we watched as the second tower was hit, watched them both collapse; saw the fire of the Pentagon, prayed wildly as the last plane crashed in the field. We held our daughter close, so thankful for the responsiblity we had to keep calm for her, to play and have our responses tempered by her presence. I remember the relief when my parents and sister arrived back home and the safety I felt in having us all together. 

Ten years ago, I never imagined New York to be a place I would ever live, a city I would ever call my city. And yet, now, I hold it so dearly, call it my own, have a chosen affection placed here. As we unpack the events of 9/11 for our children, it is no longer in the context of an attack on America that ignited war, but it is something that happened in their city. They have walked through ground zero, frequented a hot dog vendor on Fulton street, tilted back their heads and imagined the towers in the open air space that is forever changed. They have met survivors and the seen the memorials of fallen FDNY on our block right alongside pieces of the WTC they can reach out and touch. And now, they have looked out their window to see the beams of light and the memory of what their view might have looked like a decade ago. 

In many ways, although they can’t remember, their understanding is so much more personal and I am praying today that I will respond well, answer well, not share too much…but just enough, and help them love their home and city and remember in their own way. 

 

Ode To Summer

My personal Ode to Summer has been to be fully present and offline as much as possible- friends, it was pure joy. We frolicked and camped and ate too many roasted marshmallows, hiked the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and played at the beach in Connecticut. We were in a wedding and were able to be there for the birth of our new nephew and had many lazy days in between just enjoying life together as a family.

Maybe just as important as a summer bucket list, might be the Labor Day celebration of all that we explored, experience and enjoyed together as a family. I thought I'd take you on the journey with us in this gallery. Happy End of Summer everyone! 

xx

Kristen

The Heart of A List Maker

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I am a list maker. It can’t be helped. I keep track of life through pages and pages of notebooks and to-do lists and half- used journals. Upon our recent move, I was faced with three, yes three full boxes of  leather bound tomes to lug to our new apartment. The movers might have given me a few eye rolls, but these babies are my treasures! Here’s why: I will never scrapbook. I get itchy just thinking about how to print my bazillion photos from the last 12 years. How on earth could I ever catch up and write stories and create borders to match at this point? I can’t.I’ve tried.

Sometime after my third child was born, a new kind of memory keeping began for me. I’d love to share it with you in case, like me, you long to have a record of how you build into your days,  but wonder where to begin or how to journal about your family life simply.

Read the rest today at Mom Heart by clicking here

Something Beautiful Born of Something Buried

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I buried my blog.  

Something in me has been stirring for a good long while- rumbling in my belly : A vision of rest. For the parched, for the weary, for my sisters who feel alone, for the ones who feel the squeeze of motherhood, the disillusion of a life that doesn't look quite like they thought it might, or maybe, like me, the hectic pace of a large city. We need water. We need a thirst quenched deep, and a tall glass just won't do. 

I buried my blog for a while to let my thoughts swirl and while it was underground I thought about just letting it go to seed- I thought about how I really want to spend my days, carry out my minutes, fill my home and I said out loud no less than a few times that I was done with this business of sharing my heart  with you all. I just craved quiet. 

And somehow in the interlude, in the place where my cries met God's beauty, he whispered that you just might need some quiet too. The very thing I was to create was the kind of place I desperately long for: a place where we can gather beauty together, where we can find safety to pause and inspire, to foster eyes that see the light... to remember who we truly are.

Kick your feet up and catch your breath. You are welcome here.

Here's a bit more about what I'm up to : About