Category Archives: A Mom’s Take

JUST ONE WEEK… only 7 more days… (YIPPEE)

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Summer break is nearly over. 

Did you survive?

Did you thrive?

For our family it is a toss-up!  We had some fun travels, spent a month rotating the flu (which I never succumbed to… another sign that God designed mothers very well) and we had a whole lot of busyness.  Sure, we had sweet moments of playing together (and not fighting), swimming and seeing sights.

But now we are a week from school starting and we are at a fevered-pitch of burnout of all this togetherness, 3 kids (and a mom) full of nerves for a new year to begin and too much togetherness (YES – I mentioned that twice).  I know that this sounds like I am being way too personal or real, but I am just calling a spade a spade.  We are READY!  Well, we are READY or NOT to get this year moving along.

It has become so crazy at times that I can’t even spend 2 minutes alone without crimes against The Geneva Conventions being committed.  (That works for kids too, right?)  The injustice occurs when I am barely out of sight.  Then they have to follow protocol and report the crime against all humanity and especially themselves IMMEDIATELY.  No matter where we are from one another I hear my name called with a shrill and sometimes the overwhelming/choking/gagging tears.  This call sometimes happens when I am in sight.  But usually it is when I am in the bathroom.  (YES – I said it)  Then they proceed to talk to me through the door.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me lose it!!  The sounds of uncontrollable crying of one to three children, the yelling of enough circumstantial evidence that they could conduct an on-the-spot trial and I can’t forget the gnashing of teeth towards one another can make a mom go crazy.  And all I have to protect me is  a one-inch hollow door and a flimsy door knob lock.  It is enough to make my insides boil.  After a summer of requesting 2 minutes alone until I can come out and process the crime with my full attention, I have come up with a new policy in our home and I have posted it for all in the land to see.

 

If there is no...FIRE, or BLOOD loss, or ALIEN INVASION... IT CAN WAIT UNTIL  YOUR MOM IS OUT OF THE BATHROOM!!

If there is no…FIRE,
or BLOOD loss, or
ALIEN INVASION…
IT CAN WAIT UNTIL
YOUR MOM IS OUT
OF THE BATHROOM!!

It has been up one week and it is definitely helping.  I am praying it will continue to lessen as school is in session and our time for togetherness is a little less.  This is what it has come down to in our home.  How about you??

Please tell me what you think or if you have any ideas for 3 children to allow for 2 minutes of privacy I am all ears!

Feel free to print our your own copy for your bathroom door(s).  Yes – you see a plural on that… I have two posted and both help!

If you can relate and feel others can too as we head into this last stretch to school, please share this along.

We all deserve a good laugh and for some reasons as moms we want others to understand us, but we have a real hard time being the real us to others.  This is me today with one week to go.  And yes, 2.5 months ago at the beginning of summer I wrote a sweet piece about not wanting summer to go too quickly.  I still feel that way… but again summer break has proven that all good things come to an end… AND WE ARE READY!

We are in this together – – let’s claim back our 2 minutes!!

Praying for your 2 minutes and mine without ceasing!

Kristin

The PROUD mom of a 5th grader, 2nd grader and 4 year old preschooler

Summer Pep Talk for You and Me

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There is a saying that floats around Facebook.  You may have heard it from well-meaning women in grocery store check-out lines while your tribe is begging for all the impulse candy.  I know I hear it often in my head. 

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Oh! This saying creates a sense of panic in me.  What about you?  I start questioning my involvement, my intentions and my priorities.  Am I too caught up in the moment-to-moment emotions, homework and conflicts to see the good stuff in front of me?  Am I wishing my days would either smooth out or go by faster instead of soaking up that our house is great when it is noisy and crazy?  I know I have done both over the past 10.5 years of my mothering journey.  (I still can’t believe my first-born is 10.5 years old… how did that happen? I bet I blinked.  My Mom warned me not to!)

Mothering has changed me in ways I didn’t know it would.  It has built me up and broke me apart.  Being a mom has brought me closer to what truly matters to me.  I have gained a deeper relationship with my God, my self and my family.  It has granted me the sweetest moments of love, pure and true.  Each time one of my children holds my face in their sweaty little grip to kiss me gently or they give me eskimo kisses I feel that love.  And I have seen God in their love for each other.  Sure, they can fight to the death at times, but those fights are few compared to the countless times I have caught them doing right by one another.  They help one another, they stick up for one another and they go on great-caped adventures around our home together.  I have also seen God in their love of all creation.  During the times we slow down, we become grass-stained, freckle-faced and sun-kissed together.  Those days make mothering feel long in a good, carefree way.

The long and short of it is that someday we will swear all the carefree and stress-filled days went faster than we ever thought possible.  If only God would let us push pause, I know we all would.  Here is a glimpse of my paused world maybe you feel the same.  

~ I would pause to have the table full of clanking silverware, dropped napkins, spilled milk that floods everywhere to feel bliss.

~ I would pause to have full beds of the ones we love under the same roof each night to feel peace.

~ I would pause to be the one our children turn to no matter if it is a fly they know for sure is a “bee” or a scary dream that they need to be comforted from.

~ I would pause to be the short order cook/nutritionist who wants to raise healthy people.

~ I would pause to be the one that hugs when they bubble over for no good reason when hormones have started to wreck their bodies, minds and spirits.

~ I would pause to be the one that teaches them to find God in everything around them and in everyone they meet.

In the long and the short of our days, I am praying for you and I to fully sit in the brevity and choose to honor the moments we have been given.  God has chosen us to be a guide in our children’s lives. We point out the path and then let them lead the way.  They are to be our guide as well to bring us back to what truly matters.

Let your children guide you this summer and let’s all enjoy the days we are blessed with.

Remember – try not to blink!

Blessings and Peace to your families and YOU.

Kristin

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(This was originally shared with MOPS@2BC in May 2013.  I re-read it today, because after a crazy week with 2 rounds of antibiotics for major spider bite infections/pain/illness for Rhett and I, a small bathroom renovation, boys traveling for the week, usual wild week stuff plus Kaylee getting sick with the flu early today – – I really needed to be reminded that the days are long and the years are short… share on if you think others might need a reminder too.  Let’s be honest we all do.)

My So Called Pinterest Interest… (Addiction)

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“Well, I have a couple of minutes to see what others are pinning.”

“Oh! I have a _________________________ coming up and I need ideas STAT!”

                       (class party/birthday party/family trip)

“Who has time to find a good blog with a Google search these days?”

“My Pinterest boards are the only thing I can keep organized!”

“It’s mindless like flipping through a magazine.”

I have said or thought all of the above many times.  I love the purpose of Pinterest, but I am becoming less enamored with my interest.  I have more of an addiction.  I have even tried to equate it to fanatic sports fans.  The fans that know every statistic for the past 10+ years.  But I can’t do that any longer.  They have a passion for a sport and the desire to know all they can to create a connection.  I will confess that I have a need to be nosy into other people’s pins and a compulsion to pin things that I don’t even click through the blog it is associated with.  OUCH.  I rarely check out the pin farther than the initial picture.  Who has time for that? 

Photo Credit: Lasso the Moon

       (photo credit: Lasso the Moon)

I do want to declare that I am not opposed to Pinterest at all or your use of it.  I am opposed to mine.  I think I am pinning when I could be learning from those I know in my life or future friends.  Sure, maybe I can search Pinterest for Disney trip tips, but wouldn’t it be better to ask my friend who just went.  I could learn from someone and make a real connection.  I bet they would be happy to help me.  A recent pinning rampage was an overseas trip I am interested in researching.  I immediately started looking at Pinterest and started pinning to a private folder.   I was pinning before it dawned on my that a new neighbor is from that country.  Of course, I should go to her as my expert.  Wouldn’t I rather have her as my guide and connect in real life?  YES!

I have tried to defend my pinning with my desire for research.  For the year I have been on Pinterest, I have been stuck in the R (research) stage of R&D.  Very little has made it to the D (development) stage.  I have probably only made a couple of recipes and tried a few home decor ideas.  So, then why do I have 114 BOARDS?  How did that happen?  And those boards have 2,878 PINS!  How did this happen?  Please tell me I am not alone in this mindless addiction?  Please!

Maybe you are like me and pinning away on your Pinterest app.  Mindlessly pinning away.  I rarely ever log into the Pinterest website, because I find it too overwhelming and cluttered for my taste.  (Hope you can see the irony in this confession!)  It has been 6 months since I have logged onto the Pinterest website.  That is when those statistics burned into my retina and made my heart race.  Shock and dismay rolled over me like soul-searching waves.  I was truly not aware of my dependence on this app.  Immediately I thought I need to start doing and stop pinning.  My research side kicked into gear.  I wanted to know more about where I spend my time and find out what it says about me.  I bet your boards say a lot about you as well.

Sure, a lot of mine are what I have mentioned: party plans, birthdays, and travel.  Many are for this specific phase of my life including parenting, cleaning, and cooking.  But those don’t have high numbers.  I had to find the board with the most.  It would show me my true interest and a reflection of what I want to change the most.  As I scrolled through 114 boards, it jumped out at me and made me loudly laugh in my quiet house.  There it was 1,124 pins in one board.  There they were 1,124 pins of sayings, quotes, and phrases that I resonate with me like a gong.  The board is called, Things for My Wall.  Can you imagine how BIG that wall would have to be to even if the sayings were on sticky notes?

I can’t say for certain, but I am pretty sure that only 3-5% might be duplicates.  I glanced through the entire board and I didn’t see any, which means that I probably have a secondary problem.  I also have Pinning OCD, if I can remember what I haven’t pinned before.  What a waste of my brain!  Einstein would have a hay day with my wasted brain usage.  He believed in not remembering small details you can look up.  “Only put in enough energy and effort so as to pull out of life what really matters, what you really want. Be organized enough that you can find everything you need or want, when you need or want it. But don’t fret over the small stuff. And have a way to be confident you can tell the small stuff from the big stuff,” was Einstein’s advice to be less cluttered.  I need to take this saying from my imaginary wall and keep it close as a mantra.

Einstein or not:: What good is all this inspiration if it is stuck on a make-believe wall on a Pinterest board?

Some that follow my pins might see it when it is initially pinned.  What impact does that make?  They don’t know why I care about those words or why they could too.  Am I alone in wanting to change the world with my pins?  I know that my budget board with 4 pins isn’t where my passion is found or shared.  Something must come from my new awareness and my 1,124 pins of inspiration.

BUT WHAT?

Tell me what do you think I should do?

What Pinterest board do you have the most pins for?


Here is what I have done to change my behavior today with my iPhone! Baby steps!

BEFORE MY BLOG

Before My Blog

AFTER THIS BLOG – Take that Pinterest!

After My Blog

Ah… February…

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February is my crossroads month

February is my crossroads month

 

 

Usually around February my known world gets shook up. Here is the run down on my significant Februarys.

February 1998: I was selected as a new sales employee for Fred Pryor Seminars, a training company. I didn’t graduate until May, but they were willing to wait for me to finish and join the team. This plan allowed the usual senior job crisis to not effect me. I truly loved my capstone classes and time with my friends. The fact I was joining an organization that was based on life-long learning was an amazing step.

February 2003: I had been home for five of my twelve weeks of maternity leave with Ian. I crunched numbers and prayed. We decided that with my previous schedule and Amon’s new work travel each month, I needed to be home. I felt like I was betraying my wonderful boss and all my faithful clients in exchange for the unknown, spit up and no sleep. How we were going to pull off this big, unplanned for step was intimidating. (I guess we pulled it off… it has been 10 years as of 2/4/13)

February 2007: I gave in and we purchased a one-year old orange mini-van and added our then two car seats. (Ian was 5 and Kaylee was 2.5) I knew that day our van, our home and our hearts needed another Wooldridge. More praying and listening. Rhett was born June 2009 and helped fill our mini-van, home and hearts in unmeasurable ways.

February 2010: I did my best to support my dear friend during her loss and my mom as she faced chemotherapy for breast cancer. I became a basket case. I had major times of doubt and questioned my faith in the same moment, I prayed for God to be with those I loved dearly. Now my friend and mom are my biggest cheerleaders to this day.

February 2012: I felt like God was putting many different encouraging voices in my path that guided, nudged and urged me to apply for the CREATE Masters of Divinity program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, KS. More praying, worrying and doubting flooded my days. I pushed through it and applied even though I was terrified. I know my steps were guided and I was accepted to the fully scholar-shipped program.

February 2013: In two more class I will have finished my first of three years for my masters. Balance, commitment, and family are the three guides for my life now. It is fulfilling, challenging and divine. And completely unexpected. It keeps working out.

I didn’t know how it would work out each February, but looking back it speaks volumes to believing God will provide a path for me. My heart always leaps a little for February and I hope it always does. I hope you can find your month of calling and for you to see you have already been guided divinely or will be soon.

Love and Blessings to you and your families.

Kristin

PS – I felt compelled to share this note with you.  I wrote it for the MOPS@2BC February 2013 newsletter.  I hope if you read it earlier, you can feel a clearer stirring of your own month.

Advice from a Snow Day Veteran

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Someone else's snow day declaration. www.kooziez.com

Someone else’s snow day declaration. http://www.kooziez.com

OK!  So, I don’t have a ton of notches on my sled, but I have enough to share some tricks from the past five years of grade school mothering.

  1. Never feed the pre-hype for school possibly being cancelled.  This can back fire when you do have to motivate your troops and get them OUT!
  2. In preparation of possible snow day(s); get some FUN food that you usually don’t have in the house.  You know the things your kids tell you they eat at their friend’s house.  Sure having soup, grilled cheese and cocoa are staples on snowy days.  But surprise them!  We will be celebrating with brownies and cool whip!
  3. Don’t let the day just unfold.  Talk to them and “let” them decide the day.  This works great when you need to remind them what they might miss out on if they keep throwing a fit.
  4. Sure snow days are hard on the schedule, but if you can be home with your kids; become a kid!!!!  Let loose!  Play outside.  Throw the first snow ball.  Make snow angels.  Show your children that being an adult can be fun too!
  5. Plan for some quiet time during the day, especially after playing hard outside.  We usually watch a movie and snuggle down under an avalanche of blankets in our basement.
  6. I also highly recommend silly, loud times!  I can’t wait to start the first “tickle tackle” with the kids.
  7. As a mom who blinked and now has a funny, bright 10 year old, please enjoy this bonus time with your children.  Don’t miss IT, while being in the same house all day.  The days are fleeting friends…
  8. If you have older kiddos, put them to work!  We will get some mad dash race cleaning done tomorrow and I am pretty sure I know a 10 year old who will be shoveling my sidewalks.  If you have younger one, have them pick up!
  9. Take lots of photos!  Do simple things and enjoy it!  As for me and my house we will be dancing in the kitchen to very loud music (and serving the Lord :))
  10. Last but not least… Fights, Tears and Personalities are also part of a snow day.  Let laughter, forgiveness, and compromise be the goal for the day.

NOW HUDDLE UP WITH ME…

COME ON BRING IT IN CLOSE…

ON THE COUNT OF THREE…

ONE 

TWO 

THREE

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!

 

P.S. Here is a fun website for you to “predict” the number of snow days you might have for your area.  Looks like 2 for Liberty!

Snow Day Calculator

 

Oh… Pandora

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I was just sitting on my comfy living room couch working along on all my projects and loose ends that need tying up.  To keep myself focused I usually turn on Pandora to the Tina Turner channel.  My Momma didn’t raise no fool.  Song after song is either Tina Turner, someone like her or music from the 80’s and early 90’s.  It is one of my favorite channels because it just makes me happy.  I usually end up singing along.  As I write this Michael Jackson is belting out The Way You Make Me Feel.  Yes, I am signing in my head as I write.

Have you heard the line that music is just a memory?  I’d have to agree.  Earlier a song from 1991 came on and I instantly thought I had climbed into a time machine.  I was transported to my bedroom when I was 15 years old.  I could clearly remember singing into my microphone.  I mean hair brush.  Only one person seemed to understand me at that time, Ms. Whitney Houston.  We would duet together on How Do I know He Loves Me.  I remember begging for my Mom to drive me from our country existence to the mall 30 minutes away to get the single.  Oh, the simple times before iTunes, YouTube, and CDs.  I played that 99 cent cassette single continuously and I still have it.

Every time I hear that song it brings back a flood of memories about the first boy I would talk to on the phone.  Nothing too crazy or wild.  It was huge at the time. I would sneak off and call.  Of course, I thought my parents had no idea.  Except looking back it seemed that they always ended up needing to make a phone call when I was on the house line.  Hmm… that seems fishy now that I have a parental view.  I would die of humiliation when they got on the phone and started dialing a number.  I would get off the phone quickly and turn on that cassette single and sing.  Whitney seemed to be the only one who knew about love, boys and how I was feeling.

I will always know that song word for word.  Those days of teendom are 20+ years ago, but music can make me feel that age all over again.

Tell me one of your “time machine songs.”  I’d love to know!

Ok I have to write for class and possibly clean… hmm probably not the clean.  🙂

Make sure to check out yesterday’s blog post on Lucy and Ethel!!

Blessings,

Kristin

PS – now Whitney Houston’s So Emotional is playing…

So much…

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I often hear the following:

“I don’t know how you do it all.”

“You should learn to say no.”

“I see you coming and going all the time.  Aren’t you exhausted?”

“Just watching you buzz around makes me exhausted.”

I’ll be honest sometimes it stings.  I do have a lot of plates spinning.  And sometimes I am not sleeping much.  My “extra” things are keeping me up late.  It is the soft footsteps padding down the hall from my sweet three-year old at 3:00 a.m.  And yes, I could have a big production of the injustice of getting out of bed to tuck him back in, but I’ve noticed that his current level of “momma need” is fleeting.  My gig is to be his “person.”

Being his “person” reminds me of a great line from the show, Grey’s Anatomy from a couple years back.

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It is a different kind of “person” than the friendship described on that show.  But it still stands true.  I am his “person” and I will always be.  I am actually 3 smaller people’s “person” and one adult’s.

I try to not lose myself in all the doing, going and being.  It is a lot of ever-changing, coaching, and communicating.  I could use a nap just thinking about it all.  We all know that there isn’t time for that. 🙂  I keep my plates spinning and my people happy. (most of the time)  I am enjoying this phase of motherhood, family, MOPS Leadership, and master’s classes more than any other time yet.  It is freeing to have all these parts to my life and I am thankful for all the plates to spin.  Some days it seems like everything is falling apart and plates are crashing by the crate full.  Those are the days that stick out when some one comments about the business of my busy-ness.  It cuts a little, but I know that this crazy season is what I am in for now and it is a good thing I love it.

A Solid Investment

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Our wooden play set stands guard in our backyard of dead, dry grass as a beacon of hope for warmth and long days outside.  We moved to our home a little over 2 years ago.  One of the first, big, non-negotiable purchases we knew would be a play set with swings.  It has been a staple in our outdoor play and many times during this mild Missouri winter, we have been outside playing on it.

Today was one of those days.  A day “too cold” in Momma’s opinion, but just right for all three kids.  I heard them through my cracked open kitchen window.  They were laughing, shooting storm troopers together and of course there were the predictable set of tears and screaming.  It was an accident.  It is hard for our three year old to remember to watch for swinging feet and spinning tire swings.  Especially after not being outside for a few weeks.

They all came in chilled to the bone, but gleeful.  Time with each other on their play set was just what they needed in the great outdoors to run, scream and pretend.  I asked more about what they pretended and they each went into different versions of a Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I am thankful they can be so happy together on a cloudy afternoon.

That play set was a solid investment.  Their cackling laughter is worth every penny.  I am so glad we didn’t wait.  I know it would be have been a big mistake if we had delayed or never installed the play set.  Glad as parents we just did what needed to be done.

K.I.S.S. – A Quick Tale from a Former Poser

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We have probably all heard the K.I.S.S saying before.  I don’t like what the last “S” usually stands for.  I don’t like to throw in derogatory or demeaning names just for the heck of it. (ok – personal soap box is over)

The K.I.S.S. idea and motherhood has been a struggle for me to keep things simple.  Ten years ago, when I started staying home I decided to become Martha Stewart.  Literally.  I put her up on a pillar of what was right, expected and needed by my family of 3 at the time.  I would make meals from scratch, stay up on all laundry and ironing and I would set ridiculously high expectation levels that robbed my life of JOY.

Until one day I stumbled on a show hosted by Martha Stewart’s grown daughter, Alexis.  It popped my self-imposed and society-imposed bubble of Martha Stewart goodness immediately.  OUCH!  I felt different after hearing another side of the perfection saga of Martha Stewart.  Alexis shared that as a child she couldn’t live up to expectations, she didn’t have fancy treats or meals, and rarely a Halloween costume.  Seriously??  And here I was trying to be Martha!  The construction, expectations, and appearance boiled down to a pretty poor relationship with her only child.  No thank you that is not the legacy I was after.

I knew I had to learn the greatest lesson that Martha could teach me.  I needed to learn and live K.I.S.S. – – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  I still enjoy a craft or 12, but I don’t want perfection.  I still enjoy cooking, but a meal from Costco to warm up is ok by me.  By keeping it simple, I can keep up.  My kids can depend on me to sit and listen.  They know I would rather read with them then have a clean and empty kitchen sink or sparkling bathroom counters. And I am focused on the simple things.  It pours into how we live, how we celebrate and how we can do more for others.

I highly recommend in this time of out-doing yourself, your neighbors, and society that you K.I.S.S – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  Trust me the impact is worth it.

Blessings at Christmas to you and your family.

Kristin Wooldridge

A Recovering Martha Stewart Poser

My 3 year old knows more than me…

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He is starting to process and talk more.  He has been what most would call delayed.  We say he is a late bloomer.  He has impressed us for a couple of years with his resourcefulness.  He could imitate sounds for things that he needed or wanted, which always reminded me of the character from the Police Academy movies.  The sound, “shhhhh” was for the water dispenser for our fridge.  “Woof” was all he would say for our dog, Harley.  It was simple but we all got it.

As I said, he is starting to really bloom.  I have teased that it is like watching someone who imigrates or visits here with broken English as he tries to find the right words.  He is focused.  He usess gestures, taps his foot and looks around saying, “eh” or “um.”  If you give him time, he gets it together.  He beams with pride, if you ask him the right claryifying question back.  And he loses his red-headed temper when you are way off base.  He is even known to cover his eyes with his hand and shake his head back and forth in dismay and disapproval.  (Which cracks  me up, but I would never let him see me laugh)

His two older siblings came out of the womb talking non-stop. (hmm… that is definitely hereditary if you ask my Mom)  But Rhett has been much later to talk and question.  He is now sharing his highlight reel of his preschool morning and it is amazing.  He is starting to not just listen to books at bedtime, but repeat, sing along and now ask “why.”  It is music to this Mama’s ears.  Even all the whys.

You may be wondering how a 3 year old is smarter than me.  It all happened as we read before bed this past Saturday.  We were reading a family favorite, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.  He has heard this book hundreds of times and I am sure I have read it a thousand times or more in the past 10 years of bedtimes.  It is an “auto-pilot” book.  Meaning I don’t need to read it with the words.  I can just recite it and I don’t often pay close attention to the meaning behind the words.  We were snuggled together and he was very relaxed sitting on my lap in our chair.  All of a sudden he turned to face me and took  me by my cheeks.  He pulled me close and I fought the urge to go into “mom-mode” of “hey, let’s get back to the book.”  But something happened that has never happened before.

He looked deep into my eyes and beamingly said, “Me love you like God love you Mama!” Oh, the tears of joy I instantly had were so full of love.  I covered his face with kissed until he started squealing.  I told him repeatedly, “you got it buddy!”  He gets it better than I do.  He pulled away and said, “Me see God soon?”  And I replied, “God is in everything you see.”  Rhett looked around and said, “Me meet God on Tuesday.”  I said, “Maybe so.”  And he smiled back.  We snuggled down and finished our book with a mom that was not on “auto-pilot.”  We prayed and I tucked him in tight.

As I stepped out of his peaceful room, I thought I can’t wait to share this story on Tuesday.

Hope you have a great Tuesday and that you can find the blessings in the abundance we all have in our lives from God.

Love,

A Mom of A Late Bloomer