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29 Sep
2015
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Small Acts of Kindness, Big Effects

I rarely ask for help with the logistics of running a family. We have no grandparents to give us a hand, so all chauffeuring and encouragement at activities falls fully on Craig’s and my shoulders.

It’s exhausting and rewarding and really exhausting to be the only ones who are there to watch the kids succeed and, sometimes, struggle in their various activities. Sharing the load makes for less stress and frees room for more enjoyment. I’m looking forward to having a teenage driver here in the next few years simply for one more person available to chauffeur.

boy running during a flag football game

Most of the time I enjoy the challenge of ensuring everyone’s schedules work together. Today was the straw on the proverbial camel’s back. I knew weeks in advance that today’s schedule was logistically impossible with just two drivers. One driver had to take one child for the evening to a football game 30 minutes away leaving the other driver with three kids and three activities at roughly the same times held nowhere near each other.

Allowing one activity for each child adds up to a lot of activities. There are only a few weeks left in football, and the end of that season frees much of our afternoons and evenings. My choices for today were to call in reinforcements or curl up in the fetal position and give up. It took three friends to help feed children, drive children and supervise children for tonight to work. I know my friends would say it was no big deal, but for someone who doesn’t ask for help, today was a wonderful reminder of the goodness of people.

Knowing the children were all being cared for allowed me to actually relax and enjoy my assignment, our oldest son’s football game. Normally, I’m constantly checking my watch to make sure I’m not late running one of the children to another activity.

teenager finishing homework with a laptop

I believe at times we over-think our acts of kindness. We attempt to go big by purchasing coffee for strangers or adopting families during the holidays. Big acts of kindness are wonderful and necessary in their own right, but the small everyday acts we can do without much effort or expense shouldn’t be down-played. The kindness shown us today eased the pressure on our family and that is no small act.

I’ve chosen to block out the fact that two members of the family ate take-out pizza in the vehicle, one child was doing homework until almost 10 p.m., and no one did anywhere near 20 minutes of required reading. Kindness received blurred the edges of tonight’s less than stellar moments.


 
Learning from the Center
By     |    Sep 25, 2015
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Learning from the Center

Football. It’s all-consuming in our house in the fall. The boys play it, talk about it and watch it. After school is scheduled around when, where and who needs to be at what field with two boys playing tackle football and one playing flag football. It’s our fault they’re passionate about the sport. We’re the ones who opened that door years ago. I was a newspaper sports reporter before I was a mom. Sports was what I watched, researched and... [Read More]

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Lessons from “The Nightingale”
By     |    Sep 18, 2015
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Lessons from “The Nightingale”

I read the words, “I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.” I slowly inhaled and gently closed the book. To be known, for someone to clearly and completely understand who you are, and love you anyway, this is what I want. I found the words for my feelings on the fourth page of Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” The story is lovely and sad, but honestly,... [Read More]

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Pallet Fest 2015
By     |    Sep 1, 2015
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Pallet Fest 2015

Cities and I have a precarious relationship. I like the idea of visiting a city, but inevitably, the closer we are to a city the more my desire to visit fades. Traffic makes me antsy. Crowds make me anxious. The abundant choices are overwhelming. I can only handle a city for a long weekend before I have to search for open spaces and less traffic. I do enjoy the novelty a city offers. I crave the unique and free-spirited. I... [Read More]

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The Great Bedroom Swap
By     |    Aug 7, 2015
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The Great Bedroom Swap

I stood in Menards looking down a long aisle of shelving possibilities wondering why I was even at a home improvement store. The day started with the sole intention of moving one bed from the spare bedroom to the tween’s room. I was looking for shelving while the basement at home was filled with multiple dismantled bed frames and a dresser stood smack-dab in the middle of the upstairs hallway waiting to make the journey downstairs. This is exactly why... [Read More]

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Partaking in Risky Behavior
By     |    Aug 2, 2015
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Partaking in Risky Behavior

Apparently, I’m a risk-taker. Each summer, for seven years, we’ve welcomed a visiting Challenger Sports soccer coach in town for a British soccer camp. The coaches we’ve hosted are young men between the ages of 18-23. They need a place to call home for seven days. This week during camp, a mother I don’t know wanted to talk about hosting. More precisely, she wanted to talk about how negligent I was being. I was asked if I thought I was... [Read More]

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Perspective Through Inconvenience
By     |    Apr 29, 2015
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Perspective Through Inconvenience

I take for granted the posh lifestyle I lead compared to most of the world’s people. I have more than most, no matter what my list of wants may look like. I’ve been whiny this last week about the inconveniences thrown in my path. The only way I can tolerate our crazy family schedule is because we have two vehicles and two licensed drivers. I’ve learned that if one vehicle is taken out of the equation, my anxiety level increases... [Read More]

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Caught Off Guard by Adulthood
By     |    Apr 8, 2015
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Caught Off Guard by Adulthood

I spent spring break last week being easily distracted by my children. They wanted to go to a park multiple times. We went. They wanted to paint. We did. They wanted a movie marathon. We sat for hours watching movies, which is a true indulgence at this house. I soaked in the best part of being able to work from home: being with my children. It wasn’t all roses and butterflies. There were thorns during the week. I have a... [Read More]

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Broken Dryer and a Clothesline
By     |    Mar 31, 2015
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Broken Dryer and a Clothesline

Laundry is one of my least favorite household chores. It’s never-ending, multiplied by six. It turns out, laundry without a functioning dryer is flat-out ridiculous. My dryer decided to quit blowing hot air Sunday in the middle of a giant load of jeans with another large load of clothes in the washing machine. I know there are far worse problems to have, but I was annoyed. A call Monday morning to a repair man ended with an appointment on Wednesday... [Read More]

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Home State Team: Wyoming Cowboys
By     |    Mar 16, 2015
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Home State Team: Wyoming Cowboys

Wyoming is all I know. The things that drove me crazy as a teen and had me dreaming of ways out of the west are the same things that made me stay to raise my own family. As a high school senior, I was set on moving to Michigan, but then an offer from the University of Wyoming had me packing my bags for Laramie. I was not excited, but in hindsight, that choice led me to a pretty darn... [Read More]

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Peace Within the Chaos
By     |    Jan 25, 2015
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Peace Within the Chaos

I am a bottler of emotions and an over-thinker of thoughts. Many nights I lay awake mentally wrangling with a burden, problem or project. Sometimes all three in one night. I stuff emotion on top of emotion deep inside until I explode on some poor, unsuspecting member of my family. They take the brunt of it all, tears and tantrums along with the joy. I can feel the build-up of feelings and thoughts that haven’t been shared. I know I’m... [Read More]

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Hibernating Through the Holidays
By     |    Dec 28, 2014
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Hibernating Through the Holidays

Tomorrow morning the alarm will buzz, signaling the end to our holiday hibernating. The last four days have featured the six of us with board games, food and movies. We left for a sledding excursion and crafting essentials and returned to hunker down within the confines of our home. I haven’t looked at the calendar, and more importantly, I haven’t wondered how we’ll manage to get everyone to everything on the calendar. It’s been perfect. I’ve listened to LEGOs clink... [Read More]

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