Monday, July 29, 2013

Eleven Candles

My son recently turned eleven years old
and it is hard to believe that...
 
 
 
it has already been ten years since we celebrated his 1st birthday
it will only be ten years until we celebrate his 21st birthday
 
 
(or better yet, I should ask)
 


Eleven years is a big deal, and I wanted to celebrate
with activities that he has always enjoyed like...
 


 Blowing bubbles...
Painting...
 
 
or even
experimenting with green slime like the kind you see on Familylicious.com

It was quickly brought to my attention, however,
that he had outgrown that type of party

Breathe, Tondra

 Eleven years have taught me...

to let go
loosen up
and go with the flow

especially now, because eleven is all about
identity, discovery of self, and placement in the world
 
and sometimes when you're eleven mom's ideas seem
childish, embarrassing, out of style
 
I understand that... I get that...
(my degree is in child development, remember?)
 
Besides, it was only just a few days ago that I was eleven myself, right?
 
So in order to avoid all of that adolescent drama,
we decided to keep it simple with a trip to the County Fair
 
 
to enjoy the animals

 
popcorn, slushes, funnel cakes

 
 
and fun rides
 
The following day we kept it basic by grilling hotdogs in the backyard
 
 
filling water balloons


and buying a small cake!


My son hugged me before bed and said "thanks for a great birthday, Mom"

and I was happy that celebrating eleven proved to be easy with... 
simple
cool
laidback fun

shared with
family
friends
and a few foal
 
And 13 days later we celebrated my birthday!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Under His Wing

I have enjoyed a beautiful week of

rest
relaxation
reflection
















vacationing with close friends and family
children laughing and playing nearby
helping me celebrate another year of life

I am so blessed

Last night I packed all of our things and was prepared to head home,
with a heart full of gratitude and gratefulness

Until they found me...

anger and frustration
pushed their way into my hotel room at 3am, forcing me awake
two hours, too soon

Music blasting
TV glaring
Lights and noise everywhere

The intruders caught me by surprise which caused my defenses to immediately go up and I

felt like fighting
felt like making someone feel my wrath
felt like showing them who was the boss

so I did...

by forcing myself to do that which I did not want to do

I peacefully surrendered, dressed, and sat with my small travel Bible open to Psalm 91...

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High,
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty..."

Later at the airport

it took one... two... three... four tries through the metal detector
before being cleared with just enough time to run directly onto the plane

Smooth take off
Relaxed breathing
Worship song spilling forth





















Book in hand
Settling into 14F; window seat
inspired

as a closer look at the wing subtly introduced

the lesson
the instruction
the inspiration for the day



It read...

"Do not walk outside this area"

I am sitting under the wing, and I am more than just the girl in 14F
I am so blessed and

my mind drifted back to what I had read that morning
 















cause even though the turbulence is worse when we're down in the clouds

I can't help but notice that...

there is beauty
there is glory
there is joy

under the wing

So I dare not walk outside of this area

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hide Me

Watching my son and his younger cousin play "hide and seek" this morning was hilarious
 
 
(click here for a snippet of "Hide Me")

The younger...
(who has yet to understand the concept of the game)

could not stay put long enough to conceal his hiding place

while the elder...
(played along, pretending to be surprised, upon "finding" the restless younger)

I could hear them roaming throughout the house, and when they found their way into my room

I tried to help...
wanted to help...

the younger learn how to find and keep his position a secret from the seeker

But I realized a lesson like that only comes with
time
patient practice
experience

And that it is two lessons really...

Learning to find a valid hiding space
and
Learning to be quiet while in that space

It is impossible to teach 37 years worth of hiding knowledge to a 3-year old in a moment

But if he only knew...

that there is a perfect hiding place



My first trip to "The Grand Canyon"

A place within a place...

that can be hidden inside of

a word
a song
a moment of quiet reflection

And I'm glad that I've found that place

A place in plain view
where I can remain hidden

while learning to be

still
quiet
in the moment

not anticipating

which direction He will show up
which direction He will take me next,

but just learning to

go with the flow
relax, enjoy, and hide

in the beauty of His presence

Psalm 91

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nine Candles


It is birthday season in our home and we like to celebrate big!

The festivities began with my daughter's b-day which is followed...
Thirteen days later by my son's b-day which is followed...
Thirteen days later by my b-day!

Check out how we kept the party going all month
First up... a spa party sleepover with facials, mani/pedis, giggles and girls galore!

Homemade "Cookie Cake" by Auntie Sunshine




with a 1985 flashback
(proof that second generation friendships rock!) 



The next morning the girls woke to a lovely continental breakfast
and then made these rainbow cupcakes from... Apartment Therapy





 
 
Then it was on to more fun
 
in our Children's Art Studio with...
 
 


 
Microwave Puff Painting inspired by One Crafty Mumma
  
 
 
Cloud Dough inspired by Growing a Jeweled Rose
Rainbow Rice that you can read more about over at Things to Share and Remember

 
 
and finally, a chocolate play dough that looked good enough to eat from Happy Hooligans

 
 

 One summer b-day down... two more to go!
 
Click here to see how we celebrated "Eleven candles"
 
(APFLH Children's Art Studio Time will resume with... Flavors of Fall)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Learning When to Yield... or Yell

It is summertime and there are children everywhere

Riding their bikes and scooters in the street
Spraying each other with water from the hose
Laughing as they run throughout the neighborhood; enjoying these free days

Seeing them reminds me to slow down, remembering my own childhood,
and the fact that children are

quick
impulsive
carefree

and that it is my responsibility, as the adult, to yield to them

Today as I sat waiting for a red light to turn green, I noticed a young man walking alone

I said a quick silent prayer for him

and another for the young man's family
and then another
for the young man that I am currently raising

I felt tears forming...
then anger...
and frustration...

And as I merged onto the freeway, another car almost collided with mine,
and my anger and frustration intensified

Breathe, Tondra

Maybe the driver in the white car just didn't see you (or)
Maybe he's distracted because he is heading to the hospital to visit a dying family member (or)
Maybe he is late for a job that he really cannot afford to lose (or)
Maybe he is just an idiot going nowhere

It didn't matter, I decided to yield

People do things for different reasons, and I cannot control

their motives
their values
their actions

I can only learn to control my own because it only takes one bad decision to ruin a life

I need gratitude and grace everyday... so I must also give it

And when I see a person who appears to be out of control,
I cannot let my anger and frustration intensify to the point where I become like them. 

That's agreement. 

Instead I am learning to yield because I realize that my yielding does not mean yes. 
It means holding back, restraining for a moment so that unnecessary damage is not caused.

Because I now know that...

There are times to yield, and there are times to yell
and it is our responsibility to learn the difference

After all, aren't we all still just student drivers?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thanking God for All That... and a Bag of Chips

Eleven years ago today, my son was born

healthy
happy
whole

We marveled that he didn't cry at birth. My mother worried, but the doctor told her...

"He doesn't need to cry, he needs to breathe... and he's breathing"

My husband
his father
God's man

took our tightly swaddled bundle of joy to the side of the room and whispered into his ear

Later I asked him "what did you say to the baby?"

It was...

"Hear the conclusion of the whole matter.  Fear God,
and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man"

That was eleven years ago today...

This morning I overslept and woke to that same child's lips pressing against my cheek.  My eyes opened and a broad smile spread across his face as he said "congratulations, you have a son."

Later in the car I listened as he and his little sister took a trip back down memory lane

"I remember when..."
"And then we..."
"Oh yeah, and what about when..."

And as I listened I couldn't help but smile as I noted that all of the things they were referencing were

experiences
moments
times

we have shared together as a family

My kids weren't talking about

stuff
toys
material gains

they were sharing memories

"Remember when we went to the snow for Christmas?" 



"Yeah, my favorite part was when we went in the cabin
and had hot cocoa, marshmallows... and a bag of chips"

I smiled at the details they remembered from a trip that we took over 4 years ago
I smiled, grateful for the memories, the lessons in life and love

and I thanked God that

my life
my experience
my gratitude really is for all of that...

and a bag of chips!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Same Black Dress... The Black and White Edition

The need for this project started a long time ago...

You can read more about it here if you haven't already done so, but for now here is...


"The Black and White Edition"

 
 
 
Check out my new black dress!