It’s Not Perfect, But It Sure Is Beautiful

It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

How often do we run around like crazy people trying to get everything perfect? I mean seriously…think about it.

This applies to so many aspects of our lives. Whether it be the homemaker wanting her house to be spotless all the time…nice and tidy, nothing out of place, laundry baskets always empty, cookies in the oven, “Are you kidding? Who touched the throw pillows?”. Ready for Martha to stop by at a moments notice. (Raising hand) I don’t think Martha is coming. All the while missing the laughter that barrels through the door, the snuggles on the couch, the talks on the porch…the life around us.

We may criticize the hair out of place in a photo…”take it again…my muffin top is showing”. Instead of looking deeper at the love and laughter that is truly shown in the memory. I mean, honestly, 20 years from now that muffin top will be the least of our worries.

Ahhh, perfect kiddos….little cherubs. Do you have those? Didn’t think so. Me either. Comforting to know that we are all in the same boat on this one. Mine, all 5, have gotten in trouble, caused me to lose sleep, given me gray hair, said things that shocked me, and have filled my heart with more love and joy than I could have ever imagined.

And, then came marriage. It’s always amazing to me when a couple gets divorced, and everyone looks so surprised. “But, they were the PERFECT couple!” Really, people? Is there such a thing?
John and I are about as far from perfect as we can get. What we are is committed to our marriage. Committed to doing whatever it takes to make this wonderful sometimes-crazy difficult partnership work. It means looking past the little stuff…socks on the floor…and savoring the stuff that matters….John rubbed my feet while I lay shaking in an MRI last week.
Marriage is a constant work in process, and I am a firm firm believer that you get what you give. Handle your partnership gently, nurture it, and be prepared to work on it daily. Think about it…you wouldn’t plant a garden at the beginning of spring and come back at the end of the season expecting beautiful fruits and veggies. No, you would tend it lovingly; daily…and you would reap your rewards. Marriage is no different. Put the love of your life as a top priority; love them with your whole being. It’s the beautiful nuances of a relationship that will see you through…not the grandiose gestures.

None of us, nothing we have, or anything we do will ever be perfect. But, there is absolute beauty all around us…in the people we love, the home we create, and the lives we live.

Its not perfect, but it sure is beautiful.

Facebook Flashbooks…Love Em/Hate Em

Facebook flashback love em/hateem

 

I have a love hate relationship with these Facebook flashbacks that sneak up on me while I’m peacefully drinking my coffee. Love them because they take me back to these sweet little faces…I’m mean…look at those cheeks, and tiny little hands. , I’m also reminded of the easy life that was Elementary school. (And, can I just mention that I was having a fabulous hair day)
And, I can’t help but hate these flashbacks…selfishly. They remind me that time can’t be forced to stand still. So, I’ll hold on with all my might, and watch in amazement as these wonderful little people transform and grow right before my eyes. (Through good hair days and bad.)
I’ve made it through this three times now…watching my kids grow up, and leave, come home, and leave. You would think it would get easier. It doesn’t.

Summer Is Like That

Summer is like that: Amy Hafele

August to me is a FOUR letter word. Oh, I suppose I could look at it as beginning of sorts; a Genesis if you will. I know, I know a new school year is about to start. The retailers have been warning of this day of doom with bigger than life pencils swinging from the ceiling…casting shadows on our summer since school let out. Backpacks have been purchased, school supplies are filling the aisles, calls for registration are on my voicemail. I deleted them immediately. I even heard a little excitement in Pickle’s voice when asked about going to 7th grade.

We have 21 days left…21 days.

I crave my children; their toothy grins, and their warm smell as they come down for the first hug of the day. Even if it’s almost 10. Summer allows me to slow down and take notice of the little things…like the fact that they grew almost an inch in their sleep.

These days of summer…they are truly the best. Having quiet talks with kids over a lazy breakfast. Nothing hurried. Just connecting. Listening. Summer is like that. Taking in their sweet smell as they lay their head on my shoulder at the movies. Summer is like that. We’ve hung out and played games, made cookies almost everyday, and truly enjoyed each other. Summer is like that. We’ve made pallets on the floor, and had movie nights; complete with a concession stand. No planned menus…Smoothies anyone? Who wants to make pizza? Summer is like that. We even took a trip to Japan with Sushi night served seated on the living room floor; complete with chopsticks. Summer is like that. Swimming until their fingers are pruny and the moon is full. Dinner with the neighbors on the patio…even if it’s not the weekend. Summer is like that. Splashing in fountains, picking blackberries, water balloon fights. Yes. Summer is like that.

Maybe it’s me, but we seem to laugh more, hold hands more, hug more, sing more, connect more, say “Yes” more…Summer is like that.

Summer is like that: Amy Hafele Summer is like that: Amy Hafele

I know school is a necessary, but man does it bring me down. Maybe it’s not just school. It’s the whole school “package”. With school comes a schedule (I know…a necessary evil), homework, extracurricular activities, Science projects, socks, meetings, fixing hair, social activities, social anxieties, getting dressed, college, lunches, carpool, tests, dioramas, PTA, standardized tests, bullies, bedtimes, fundraisers, the Sunday blues, laundry, alarm clocks… There are only 24 hours in a day.

Panicked, I wonder if we have etched out enough family time in this fleeting 2 1/2 months of summer. Did we snuggle enough? Talk enough? Reconnect enough? Slow down enough? Eat enough snow cones? Did we make enough memories? Will this carry us through the drought that is sure to follow during the school year?

21 more days….I will be seizing these diems!!! Whether my kiddos like it or not I will be holding their hands, smelling them, loving on them, laughing with them, snuggling with them…every moment I get for the next 21 days. I will be filling our cups up to the brim, so that when the school year starts to chip away at us we can quench our thirst for love and comfort.

Slowing Down

Ann VoscampIt’s not entirely our fault, really. Instant gratification is what we’ve become accustomed to… Sure, we can blame it on society…maybe we should take a look inward at our own impatience. “We want IT, and we want it NOW!” Why are we in such a hurry? What are we missing as we fly through life?

We order movie tickets online, call ahead seating. If the line at the drive thru is too long they come to the car…so we won’t have to wait too long. Oh, hell! Amazon will deliver within two hours, and throw in a cookie…because Heaven we need a TREAT!! My own kids forgo half the rides at amusement parks….Wait for it…Because the lines are too long. My heart truly bleeds for them.

What have we done?

This racing around, demanding things happen this instant…It’s creeped into my heart and soul. I’m impatient in all areas of my life. Instead of enjoying the day to day, and trusting the journey I’ve been given. I find myself restless about the future. Constantly questioning and Praying about where I should be; where my family should be….what our path should be.

But, here’s the kicker…I haven’t been Praying…I’ve been “demanding”. That’s really no different than when my kids demand something of me. Seriously, Talk to the hand!

Only He knows exactly what I need, and maybe…just maybe I should be Still. And Quiet. And Pray.

There is no reason to rush; I’ve missed so much. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, and somewhere along the way I’ve let that fade from my heart. My heart and Hands are open. I will trust the journey…

Breathing in. Breathing out. Being conscience of every moment. Everyday.

Ann Voscamp: Fo all Us Hop-ers

No More Blinders

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Do you ever lay your head on your pillow at night and wonder how you got there?  I mean really. Where did the last 12 hours go? How is it even possible that I blinked and the day is gone?  I know I’m not the only person that feels this way. Almost robotically I move through my day. One foot in front of the other, room to room, place to place, from one task to the next…strictly out of habit…checking things off my list.

Please don’t get me wrong…It has nothing to do with “loving” my life.  I have a wonderful life. I am a stay at home Mom…a job that I am the most proud of. I am married to a wonderful, kind, and loving man; my best friend. And, we have five kids who are incredible and individual, and amaze us every day.  Even with all of these blessings I like so many many other people have put on blinders to the joy and beauty that has been given to me in my everyday life.  Blinders to the Joy and Peace that comes from taking time to notice the simple things; the smallest of gifts I’ve been given. Everyday gifts.

Taking time to soak in the moments of my life, and be more aware…this will take a conscience effort on my part.  My blinders will have to come off…My eyes will have to be open.  Noticing the different shades of green on the landscape after a spring storm, the last drips of coffee into my morning cup, Pickle’s hair blowing across her face as she flies down the street on her Ripstick, the laughter from my boys as they wrestle, sweet loving texts from my husband, the smell of my garden’s first rose….These are just a few of my moments from yesterday.

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How much have I missed? No more! My blinders are coming off. This is it. This is my life. This is my NOW!! And, I will be living it with My Eyes Wide Open!

xoxo

Amy

All We Have is Now

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Where are your thoughts centered? On yesterday…the past; words you wished you’d said, steps you should have taken, choices you wish you’d never made. Or, are you looking to tomorrow…constantly thinking about something that doesn’t exist, worrying about the “what if’s” of tomorrow.

The only time we are guaranteed is right now…this very mine. And, by focusing on yesterday and tomorrow we are giving that away. I have really been preoccupied lately…well, this year 2015, with getting to the root of what brings me joy. True joy. Living in the moment has been one of the biggest changes that I have made, and one of the biggest challenges. When you are type A, move at 100 miles an hour, have “to do” lists for your “to do” lists this can be difficult. I’ll be honest I haven’t perfected it, but the times that I do it makes all the difference. I enjoy my husband and children more, I notice the subtle things about myself that make me a better person. I notice the most precious parts of my life. Like last night…I hung outside with the kids instead of unloading the dishwasher and folding clothes. I stopped. I breathed. I was present. (The dishes and clothes are still there 😁)

Yesterday happened, and I hope I will see tomorrow, but for now I’m just going to enjoy today.

xoxo

Amy

#liveauthentically #liveinthemoment #family #wecandohardthings #savor #mammalove #mindfulness #now

The World Was Our Oyster

Don't let fear stand in your way

You can be whatever you want to be! You can DO whatever you want to do! Do you remember being told these fabulous nuggets as kids? I mean think back; the world was our oyster…we were going to be unstoppable. Travel, adventures, hobbies, undiscovered talents, the perfect partner, 2.2 kids, a job we loved…the dream was picturesque.

Well, I for one at some point put on blinders. Blinders to anything outside of my daily life. Oh yes, I have my wonderful husband, I overachieved and had 5 kids, and the dream job….Being a Mom is my dream job for now. But, for the longest time…my entire life maybe I’ve kept my world very very small. I never took the time to explore my “oyster”. What is there beyond these walls that I’ve set up? New things can be frightening…is that what holds me back? I push my kids off the high dive all the time. Go ahead! What’s the worst that could happen??

I gotta tell Ya…I’ve been to the end of that high dive many a time. And, I’ve climbed right back down that ladder. That’s right. Got all the way to the edge of jumping into something new, and then at the last moment backed out. Why? I don’t know. Fear of failure. Fear of embarrassment. I should mention that embarrassment is just about the biggest FEAR I have going. These FEARS have kept my world very very small. Kind of ridiculous when you think about it. I’m in awe of my kiddos all the time as they take the stage, or hit the floor for a routine…no FEAR whatsoever…they command the attention of the audience, they take control, and they pour their hearts into their performances. Who did they get that from? It amazes me. Their worlds have NO boundaries.

It’s time to enjoy this big beautiful world, and all of the gifts we’ve been given. Take off your blinders and start exploring. Don’t let FEAR be your boundary. Try something new…big or small…Travel, painting, singing lessons, a new job, a new language, exercise, writing. It’s all yours for the taking. Grab it and run with it.

xoxo,

Amy

Our Family Merry Go Round is Outta Control

Live the minutes of your life

If you know me personally, then you know this photo is from my favorite place on earth, our land in East Texas…Arc Ridge Ranch.  Serene and special for reasons that run so very deep. I came across this photo, and it made me crave some much needed Peace in my life.

If if your family is like ours you know the drill. What games do we have? Who has a birthday party? Does this sound familiar? Guess we’ll split up…You know the drill. I’ll take this kid…hubby, you take that one. Maybe we’ll meet in the middle later. Y’all my head is spinning…my life is spinning; at a dizzying pace.  And, I’m quite certain if I feel this way then my Sweet Babes surely don’t know which end is up most of the time. Our family Merry-Go-Round is outta control!!

Between tutoring, Boy Scouts, Golf, Gymnastics almost every night, Student Council…oh Ya, and then there’s homework. We’ve even limited our kids activities (for our sanity) I know other parents who have kids in activities every night of the week. I can’t even comprehend how they keep up much less stay married. And, while we’re at it let’s go ahead and throw in some premature STARR Test Anxiety. Crapdamnit!!! When did life get this way? Surely it’s not just me digging my head deeper in the sand. My white flag is slowly rising. I am beyond ready to get off this Merry-Go-Round! It is very important to me that my children look back at their lives and have actual memories of our family life…not simply a list that was checked off. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I intend to figure it out.

These minutes we have been given are so very precious, and at times I feel like we are just squandering them away. What do we have to show for them? Stressed out parents, exhausted kids, maybe a couple of dusty soccer trophies on the shelf. Are these the THINGS we were after? Not me. I want snuggles on the couch, family laughter over dinner, kids playing in the yard, weekends enjoyed together. I intend to gather our precious minutes, and we are going to live them to the FULLEST!

xoxo,

Amy