life in the middle of a sandwich…

I remember the first time I ever heard the term “sandwich generation”. Since I am always interested in all things food, I was instantly curious. As I began to read the article, I quickly realized it had nothing to do with food, and everything to with life. The “sandwich generation” is the generation that had their kids late in life and thereby still has children in the home when they begin to deal with the concerns of aging parents. I did the math. I would definitely qualify.

Here I am several years later living life smack dab in the middle of the sandwich. I have graduated one from our homeschool, but I have 2 more still here at home. My folks have been fine until just a few months ago. A fall, a broken hip, surgery, rehab, another fall, another surgery…

Now mom and I are looking at long term care for my dad. His condition continues to deteriorate. It is heart wrenching, overwhelming, and yes, sometimes it even looks hopeless. My mom is lonely, tired, and I am sure a little afraid.

So here I am living the “sandwich” life and I must say the internal pressure can be intense. I am continually learning what it means to “lay it all down”. The reality is that I can’t be enough. I am powerless to really make a difference, we all are. But God… grace, strength, peace, hope, discernment. He is the difference maker. He sees me, he see my dad and my mom. He sees my children and my husband. He is not caught by surprise at our situation, for this I am thankful.

If you feel like it, please say a prayer for my folks.

Family traits…

My blue-eyed beauty looked at me and asked, “mom, will my knuckles look like yours someday?” I wasn’t quite prepared to answer, because truth is, they might. My hands are turning into my mother’s hands. My mother has my grandmother’s hands and so on… So I simply told her, I hope not. I also told her there are things we can do to help her be healthy and reduce the chances of her inheriting the swollen joints and pain that comes with them. I don’t tell her of how there were times when I couldn’t use my index finger to pull the tab closed on her diaper when she was a baby, or how my wrists hurt so bad one day I couldn’t use my hand to open the car door. I certainly don’t tell her about the nights interrupted by shooting pain in my hips when I rolled over. No, I tell her a different story.

I tell my daughter that when I don’t eat grains, my hips don’t hurt. I tell her when I drink NingXia red everyday my fingers don’t hurt. I tell her that when I exercise regularly I am not stiff. I tell her there is hope.

Find out more about NingXia Red and how it can give you hope for health and wellness. Blessings!

full of life Friday…

walk across the street in the RAIN to pray with a friend going in for surgery

make peppermint tea and muffins

listen to Mozart as Greg reads the libretto to the kids

eat breakfast with the front door WIDE OPEN (no bugs!)

study the Constitution with Em

listen to Col’s presentation on 3 branches of gov’t

watch Eth take his last high school history test EVER! (senior 2012!)

have a friend over to talk music theory and music history with Greg

hold his precious baby as he joins the family for lunch; homemade potato soup and my savory parmesan herb biscuits

receive an exciting text from a friend; she got me a signed copy of Ann Voskamp’s book !

They say she prayed a blessing over me as she signed it!

listen to guitar practice, piano practice, plans for a short film, and drink coffee

sit down to a meal of Green Chile Enchiladas made with the last of our “mild” Santa Fe roasted chiles

bake a pumpkin cake

decorate the house for fall

thoroughly enjoy the precious life God has given

Our first rehearsal, community theater style…

After 24 plus years of being in charge of productions, I find myself in a new role…literally. I have been cast in the role of Ms.Teevee in Lawton Community Theater’s production of Willy Wonka. My 2 youngest are also in the show. Our first rehearsal was last night, and it was so strange to be the one taking direction instead of the one giving it! The rehearsal schedule is brutal, so I am not sure if I will ever do this again, but I am in for the long haul on this one! I am determined to make the best of it and enjoy every minute. Greg told me several months ago that this was my year. My year to find health, to become fit, to explore, grow… so here I go!

If you want to see the show, it is in June. Make plans now to visit hot SW Oklahoma and see a great show ( I hear Ms. Teevee is amazing!)

A couple of random rehearsal shots taken with my iphone. I was afraid to take the time to get good shots; I might get in trouble for not paying attention! Ha!

a weekend away…

Just what my spirit needed, a weekend away celebrating my daring daughter’s birthday. A weekend away with my favorite people, in one of my favorite places. A weekend away shopping, dining, viewing art, talking with artists, sitting on the balcony of our hotel watching people, thrifting, antiquing, farmers marketing…I know I made up that terminology, but it fits! A weekend away was a breath of fresh air!

go back to your vision…

I am sitting in a Leadership Summit listening to Mark Rutland, the President of Oral Roberts University. He is talking about how a leader can revitalize a stagnant church, I heard him say this phrase and I couldn’t help but apply it to my life.

go back to your vision

This is something I have been feeling for several month now and yet I hadn’t quite been able to put it into words. Life has caused me to experience vision drift. I know we must be willing to change and evolve as situations and circumstances change, but I feel like I had lost sight of my original God given vision. When I became a mom 16 years ago, I had a clear vision of what I wanted life to look like for our children. There are things I wanted them to know, things I wanted them to experience, skills I wanted them to obtain, feelings I wanted them to associate with home. I have seen some of these things come to pass, but there is an underlying uneasiness in me. That phrase, “go back to your vision” is the source of my anxiety. I have allowed the tyranny of the urgent to unseat my vision.

I have a fresh inspiration to see my vision come to pass. Thank you God for giving me this simple phrase to set me back on track. Planning is underway even now to bring back the principles that guide our family life and homeschool journey:

Charlotte Mason


AH, it feels good and healing just to type those three blessed words. I’ll be writing more about these later. For now I’ll just give a brief explanation of what they mean to me.

Atmosphere: make sure the surrounding or pervading mood of our home is one that inspires. Let our family character and distinctive qualities be something that is attractive to our kids.

Discipline: work on bringing a state of organization; train myself and my family in habits of self control and productivity.

Life: supply curriculum and learning experiences that are varied and allow for growth in spiritual life, intellectual development, and physical health.

The 12 Days of Christmas…Erway Style

Several years ago when our children were small, a dear friend gave us a gift that has forever changed the way we celebrate Christmas. She presented us a small tree, a set of nativity scene ornaments, and 12 small boxes. She encouraged us to place the 12 ornaments in the boxes and the 12 days before Christmas open one box each day. As we place the nativity character on our tree, we tell our children the story of that character’s role in the nativity. How wonderful. How simple. How meaningful! Well, us being who we are, we expanded on that idea (imagine that!). We began with Greg writing a song for the different characters. The donkey is one of my favorites:

A donkey at Christmas
A donkey at Christmas
He carried Mary to Bethlehem
A donkey at Christmas
A donkey at Christmas
I’m so glad he fit in God’s plan

He may not have known just what he was doing
With the mother of Jesus on his back
He carried her without even complaining
It’s in the Bible
That makes it a fact…

You get the idea. So each day we open a box, talk about the character, sing a song, and thank God for coming to us at Christmas. Other things we do for our 12 day celebration include eating on Christmas china by candlelight for 12 days, even if we have PB&J, we eat it on china by candlelight. We also plan a family event for each day. Sometimes there are boxes with clues leading up to the day’s event, or a prop or small gift for that day.
Other years we have paper chains that the kids tear off with each day’s activity written on it. One year a box contained supplies for a family craft night and another, a log and hot chocolate packets in it; this meant we were going to drink hot cocoa by the fire. We have planned activities that range from going to see lights, craft activities, books to read, movies to watch, and even out of town excursions. One of my favorite 12 days activities was when Greg and the kids made reliefs. They are beautiful pieces of art that hang in our home year round.

The 12 days start today but I can’t tell you what we have planned, my kids might actually read my blog! However, I can tell you it is going to be good. I will share some of the highlights as we go along. I would like to challenge you to take some time and really celebrate together as a family this Christmas. Since we are in Worship Arts ministry, much of our time and energy go into creating holiday celebrations for the people at our church. Taking these 12 days to focus on our family helps to keep us from giving our kids our leftover time and creativity. We make our family and faith the priority it should be. I’d love to hear what others do to keep the focus on family during this busy time of year. How do you celebrate Christmas?

after one month of working with a personal trainer…

My clothes fit better
I can do 12 push ups instead of 3
I doubled my cardio time in my interval training
I have more energy
I have gotten use to being sore
I can dance and have fun with my family
I got a compliment on my calf muscles…ha!
I look forward to getting to the gym and seeing how far I can push myself
I have a bright and hopeful outlook for my future!

Long Lost Love

Somewhere along the road of pursuing our “American Dream” many of us lose the very thing that made us who we are – our passions.

Many people equate being a good parent with martyrdom of personal likes and interests. I used to feel that way. While I still whole heartily agree that parenting requires sacrifice, I think it is crucial that we don’t lose our sense of self in the process. Our kids need to see that we are people with likes, dislikes, feelings, and talents.

Recently, I was reading a blog written by a very interesting vegetarian mom with dreadlocks – my daughter freaked. She had no idea that her mom has a hidden desire to be a granola-eating, long skirt-wearing, Colorado-dwelling homeschool mom. Oh, I am a homeschool mom, and I do sometimes eat granola and wear long skirts – but there is a difference.

Now, I am not on some power rampage screaming for my voice to be heard. It’s just that I am finally at the place where I can say without guilt or fear,” no thanks I’d rather not” or better yet, “hey, you know what I’d like to do?”.  I once was a vibrant and interesting person their father fell in love with. Am I still that person? I need to allow a little time to develop my interests so that when they leave ( and yes they will leave) I  am still a person of interest and vibrancy.
So, that’s where this blog comes in. I am reigniting my love for things past, things that helped make me who I am. Who am I? I am a God-loving, grace-seeking, homeschooling mom who is madly in love with my pastor husband. Come join me as I explore my long lost loves – I may even find a few new ones along the way!