I’ve Got Friends In ALL Places


I have a very interesting and diverse group of people that I consider my friends.

I have friends who I’ve known since we were in first grade and friends who I’ve only met in the past year.

I have friends I’ve gone to school with, friends who are married to my old teachers, friends I’ve worked with, friends whose kids are friends with my kids and quite a few friends who sang this song with me in the Wyandotte High School Gymnasium sometime in the late 80’s🙂

I have friends who are old enough to be my parents, or my grandparents and some who are young enough to be my own children (although ‘young or old enough’ is a hypothetical technicality).

I have friends who have multiple advanced degrees and friends who haven’t even completed a high school equivalency test.

I have friends who view God in many different ways and I have friends who do not believe in any deity or higher power at all.

I have friends who are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern; Male and Female, Gay and Straight.

I have friends who were born on the other side of the earth, friends who have lived in or visited almost every country, friends who’ve marked off every state on their US ‘dance card’ and friends who have never left the town where they were born.

I have friends who I see and speak to often and friends who I haven’t spoken with in years it really helps when we just put something on the calendar that happens at regular intervals. Sadly, there are even people with whom I haven’t interacted in a very long time, due to unfortunate misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Regardless of how often we are together, I still count all of these people among my friends.

As tempted as I am to name some of my friends directly (especially in that last group), I won’t (not here, but you can call me to chat about it). I hope you can see yourselves and that you know how much I love you because I often find it difficult to make it clear how much I love ‘my people’.

It used to bother me that I’m not one of those people who ‘has a group’ – you know, the people who always have several of the same people around them, who usually look a lot like them, no matter what they’re doing. The people who never seem to do anything alone and whose lives always seem to be one big party after another. They share their milestones and memories with each other and always look so happy … It’s how Hollywood often depicts friendship.

I used to feel jealous of those people and struggled with my self-worth because I’ve never had the certainty that I imagine goes along with belonging to a group. Lately I’m finding that my feelings are going through a metamorphosis.

I still think it’s pretty unlikely that I could throw a completely comfortable party with such a vast array of people all in the very same place (I’m already married, and that seems to be the only party where that much diversity is acceptable) but what I get in return is so rich. I get to be surrounded by people who talk about interesting things, deep thing;s and I wonder how much time there is to connect on a core, soul level when you’re functioning in a group. There’s certainly a time and place to discuss your bathroom remodel or what you’re wearing to the next social function but I’m far more interested in your life experiences and what you think about the purpose of life, or race relations, or God – although I have been known to wax poetic if the subject is my garden or my kids. I get to hear about opinions and experiences that are often vastly different from my own. As a very inquisitive person, this gift is priceless, and my true friends’ get’ that about me and are more than willing to share. My friends often share valuable thoughts that I would have never heard if I’d found myself part of one of those groups that I used to be so envious of.  I find myself becoming more and more comfortable interacting with people of different backgrounds; recognizing that, in the most fundamental ways, we really ARE the same. The places in which we differ can serve to make our world more beautiful and interesting if we are just open enough to allow that to happen. Oddly enough I often find that, in some areas I’ve become even more discerning and convicted in my core belief system and have more courage to stand up for what I think is right and want other people to feel similarly empowered (not to agree with me, but to agree with themselves).

Oddly, it often seems that those people who function within ‘a group’( and appear to have a less diverse group of friends) also seem to be the people who are the most concerned with offending someone; the people that won’t ask questions, who are the most ‘PC’,  and most interested in inclusion (as they close their personal circle ever tighter).

The only really bad thing about my motley crew is that it makes keeping in touch a little more difficult. Those people with a’ group’ can catch up with the people they love the most at one fell swoop but I often struggle with reconciling the time I want to spend catching up  with each of my people with the time that I actually have for social things.  this is an aside

I’m happy that I’ve learned to truly appreciate the way that I experience friendship and to stop wishing for something that’s not really ‘me’. I only wish that I’d come to this realization twenty-five years ago.

As the beginning of a new school year commences and many people find themselves struggling with feelings similar to what I’ve described; I’d like to extend a welcome to you, our ‘group’ is surprisingly well populated. You are not alone, and the future ahead of you is more beautiful and colorful than you could imagine.

Virtual Shopping


Morgan and I just finished a homework assignment in which she was supposed to ‘spend’ a million dollars.

Obviously we had to do this together, on the computer since I haven’t received catalogs in years.

We ‘bought’ a convertible BMW M3 (dark silver), a MacBook Pro, a red hobo bag and black pumps from Burberry, a fur coat, blah-blah.

We’d gotten to about 30K left to spend when I suggested jewelry.

I figured Tiffany’s was pretty pricy so that’s where we went.

Once she saw THIS pretty little number…

… we immediately removed the personal submarine, antique biplane (with parachute) and some other brick-a-brac to make room for it’s 825,000 price tag.

I wish I could express how she said ‘Oh Tiffany’ (all sprawled out, elongated, and dreamy) – it was awesome.

When I asked her if her future husband had to get her engagement ring from Tiffany’s, she was emphatic – as long as they loved each other, an expensive ring wouldn’t be necessary.

Perfect. Balance.

love my girl




Morgan has always really paid attention to the things around her, so much so that we’ve been calling her ‘eagle eyes’ for quite some time.  She notices the tiniest bugs, she’s always finding  money on the ground (she found a $20 bill at a parade) …..




… and she finds four leaf clovers.




The hunt for four leaf clovers started a few years ago with my VERY creative friend, Stacey.  Our older boys had baseball practice at the park and the younger kiddos were getting bored so Stacey suggested that they ‘Go look for four leaf clovers’, figuring it would give us a little time to chat.

Morgan found her calling …

My lucky little girl found her first ‘lucky clover’ in our back yard,  under the swing set, while she was hanging on the monkey bars.  When she brought it to me I was amazed!  Over the course of that summer she found 24 four leaf clovers most of which were in our back or side yard.  Incidentally, that exact number is from HER memory, not mine – I suck.

I pressed most of the clovers that she found that summer.  I even got creative with a few of them, making some little decorative things for the house.

During that particular summer I was dealing with a bit of a health scare so every time that Morgan brought me another of her magical finds, I felt that was a sign that everything was going to be okay with me and my family.

That was four years ago and, while the weather is warm, Morgan still brings me a four-leaf clover every once in awhile (the current count is 39, in addition to two five leafed clovers and the three leaf clover with the perfectly heart-shaped leaves that she brought me today…

Unfortunately, over the past few months in particular, I’ve grown pretty blase about her finds.  Once I was even so impatient with her that I yelled at her, accusing her of looking for ways to get out of helping with the yard work.

She finds them SO often that, for me, the magic is gone.

I’m not proud of that.

Shame on me.

Today, as we took a photo of the heart shaped clover Morgan suggested that I write about it in that ‘blog thingie’ that I started.  Boy did that get all of the mommy guilt stuff going for me (TWO blog entries about Zak and none so far about Morgan) but then I started thinking about it and …

1. This is a cool story

2. It seems that I’ve learned something from my lucky daughter.

Morgan doesn’t take things for granted.  She lives her life at full speed and yet is still totally tuned in – enough to spot the smallest things (like an extra leaf in a patch of clover).  Morgan leaves notes for everyone in our family, she compliments people when she likes their outfit or their smile, she stops to talk to every baby we see.

LIFE excites her.

Every. Single. Day.

Sure, it may seem more exciting to pick your first 4-leaf clover (or your first one this year) but they ARE still he stuff of legend, myth, and magic so why in the world would her 39th find seem any less exciting to me than the first?  It’s time for me to start living my life more like Morgan does.

I’ve found one too by the way, last summer, maybe her luck is rubbing off on me, her excitement sure is.  At the very least, I’m lucky to have a daughter like Morgan.


* Did you know that, on average, there are 10,000 three leaf clovers for every instance of a true four leaf clover?  *

So Angry I Could Cry


I love how completely lovely and peaceful my house is  –  when I’m the only one here.

Anyone else that has a family can probably relate.

While I LOVE my family totally and completely, sometimes the sheer struggle of keeping up with all of their STUFF drives me up the wall.

I have made lists so that everyone can easily see what they need to do at given time of the day or week.  I’ve created games with the sole intent of making picking up after ourselves (& each other) fun, I’ve tried talking to them about how I feel when they go behind me and destroy the house that is my our refuge and that I work so hard to make comfortable and inviting for us and anyone that may come for a visit.

I admit that I am not, by any means a perfect keeper of the house, or mom, or wife… but I TRY darn it.   Some weeks even I don’t live up to my own standards so I absolutely keep that in mind when my darlings get all messy on me.

But this weekend is different for some reason.

During the week it occurred to me that my projects are often derailed because I spend so much time vacuuming, doing laundry and completing the duties of ‘master schedule keeper’.

Friday I spent the afternoon picking up ALL the messiness that I was responsible for so that I wasn’t being a bad example to my sweeties, and much of their messes as well, leaving only a couple of things for them to put away that I thought they should take responsibility for.

Friday at 3 o’clock my house looked lovely.

Then it happened…

                                                    THEY CAME HOME

It is now 9 o’clock on Saturday and this is what I see as I walk around the house (I have put away everything that I got out today)…

In my kitchen there are clean dishes from the dishwasher (thanks to  Aaron for unloading) on the counter, put there for additional air drying.    There are very few dishes actually IN the dishwasher but quite a few lying around, some are  in the sink (that I scrubbed yesterday but now has food that wasn’t rinsed down the disposer) on the counter (thankfully NOT mixed in with the clean dishes at least).  There are crumbs and plastic grocery bags on the counter and the fridge looks like I have never organized it, so I’m sure no one will be able to find any food in there until I tackle THAT job (again).

The dining room has a mess of Parmesan cheese and peppers from the pizza that we brought home for dinner tonight,’rooster’ hot sauce (only one of us uses that stuff and it is not me), a coffee cup, dirty napkins, and various jackets and melodrama costumes hung on the back of the chairs.

The mud room has several coats on the hooks that haven’t even been used this winter and more shoes than actually FIT under the bench.

Living Room detritus includes a pack of gum, a paintbrush(!?), a yard stick, a paper grocery bag that has paper for recycling, several drinking glasses/cups/beer bottles, at least four pair of shoes, athletic shorts, cell phones and remote controls.  To add to the fun, one of our cats climbed in the armoire when I opened the door earlier and she won’t come out so that’s open.

The bathroom also has an interesting mix.  Admittedly, most of that junk is related to our dog getting his much-needed bath.  There is a wet towel hanging on the side of the tub, Max’s collar, an apple core(?!) rests atop an old Chiefs cup that Aaron uses to rinse the dog, I think it was a form of bribery.  In addition to the dog stuff there is a t-shirt and shorts that someone took off & left in the bathroom on the main floor even though we all sleep  (and keep our clothes) on the second floor.

I’m not sweating the mess in the art room because that’s part of the reason we HAVE a room designated to messes arts and crafts and Zak IS working on his board for the science fair right now.

I love, love, love them all, so much.  But I wish to God that I could look forward to having everyone home for the weekend instead of seeing it as two days that they destroy my peaceful retreat and I feel like the most unappreciated mommy in the entire world.

Big Sigh

I sure wish I could figure out how to get them on board with the whole lovely, relaxing retreat thing…

Oh no, maybe I have and they think the maid will come on Monday after they relax and retreat all weekend!



Mom’s Report Card?


I often wonder if I’m making mistakes regarding how I raise my children (as, I assume, do most parents).  It’s difficult to find the balance between neglect and coddling, between telling too much or too little.

It’s also difficult to know how you’re really doing, as parents, until your kids get quite a bit older and start making decisions on their own.  There aren’t quarterly assessments that rate these things (as I have always wished there were).

One of the things that I’ve tried to teach my children is that they should care for the plight of others AND do so without being naively taken advantage of.  We live in a relatively urban area and frequently encounter people (homeless and otherwise) asking for help in some form or other – often money.


‘Giving money to strangers can be dangerous – they could hurt you in order to steal your wallet.’

‘Giving money to strangers can leave you feeling taken advantage of – like I felt when I was in high school and shared my tips with a man whom I later saw walking out of the liquor store across the street.’

‘Giving to strangers can also be so, incredibly rewarding – leaving you feeling that you were able to help another person, that YOU were able to make a difference.’

‘God wants us to share what He’s given us with others (as you do unto the least of these, you do also unto me).’


Aaron and I have discussed the above points and more with the children at various times, hoping that they would grow up being both generous and discerning.  We’ve also shared that giving a person food, or work can be far better (for everyone involved) than handing him or her money.

Today I received insight into how well my teaching is sinking in with my children and I am so proud.


On early dismissal days many of the children that attend my kids’ school go out for lunch together.  Today, there was a man (apparently homeless) who was asking for money in order to buy lunch.  When the man asked him, Zak said that he didn’t have any money and was left alone.

Coincidentally, today was also ‘Customer Appreciation Day’ at the sandwich shop and Zak won a free toasted sandwich (which he didn’t want).  As Zak was eating his (non-toasted) sandwich with his friends it occurred to him that he should give the certificate to the homeless man  – who (thankfully) accepted it and had his lunch there as well.

When Zak shared this story with me it was clear that this act of giving was a positive experience for him and I was thrilled to know that he’d been paying attention both to our lessons and to the needs of another.

It seems that, at least in this area, our values are being passed on just fine…

Time is marching on…


Today is a monumental one for my family, or at least it feels like one to me.

My daughter (the baby of our little family) turned ten years old today.  Double digits.  On her way to being a teenager.  This year, instead of barbies, she wanted jewelry and clothes for her birthday.  The birthday party theme was ‘Rock Star’; there were no goodie bags and pin the tail on the donkey was replaced by a dance competition. 

Then there’s my son.  Newly a teenager (this past January) he’s changing as well.  Not only was today Morgan’s birthday, but it was also the first day of school – and Zak started 8th grade.  If he were going to another school, it may not have hit me as hard but at St Peters, where the students attend Kindergarten through 8th grade – today signified the beginning of the end. 

I remember walking that little five year old into school on the first day of school nine years ago (NINE years – it doesn’t even seem possible).  He held our hands and hugged and kissed me and his daddy good-bye, as we left him in the care of Miss Downing (after taking a photo of him at his desk and with the teacher).  Today my husband and I each got a quick (sideways) hug about half a block away from the school and he was off.  We were instructed not to come up to the hall where his locker and homeroom are located.  We had to settle for walking his sister in (who, incidentally also left us at the door to her classroom).

In one year it will be high school for Zak.  New beginnings, new friends, new role models.  MUCH less time for mom and dad.  And high school only lasts four years … then he’ll be gone.

And I will miss him SO MUCH.

Zak is really a lot like me.  Sometimes that drives me utterly crazy, when he shows tendencies to do things that I struggle with.  But I LIKE hanging out with him, I LIKE talking to him and hearing his thoughts.  Boys are supposed to pull away from their mothers right about now and I’m just not ready for that.  I miss the infant I brought home from the hospital just last week (or so it seems), I miss the three year old that asked me just how many people died in the civil war and the first grader who pushed for our family to become more spiritual because he felt drawn to God himself.

Where did the time go?

I really love seeing my kids grow up, they are turning into really neat people, I never doubt that for a second.  But it’s going too quickly for me.  So quickly.  And I’m not ready for this season of my life to come to an end.

I already miss both of them…

                                                                … so much.




I like to think about things and talk – a lot.  I love reading and writing, although, even though I have ideas, I never seem to find the time for the latter.  I think I need an outlet.

Many of my friends have blogs and I really enjoy reading what they share about their lives and families. My husband has been encouraging me to blog for quite some time (to be completely honest, he’s been encouraging me for  YEARS) but I’ve been reluctant for so many reasons.  Frankly I’m a bit intimidated when I read the blog posts of others, I’m not nearly the caliber of writer that some of my dear friends are.  But I have things that I want to say, and share that feel all bottled up inside, so I’ll write.

Maybe I’ll like it…

Hello World