On the Topic of Dignity and Privacy – Our Kids’


I know you’ll hardy be able to even fathom this, but I was not an easy kid to raise.  No, it’s true. Not from the time I was little, all the way through my teens and early 20’s.  My mother even had a nickname for me: ‘Mouth’.  And no, she wasn’t likening me to Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger.  She was referring to my frequent fresh-backtalkin’.  My mouth seemed to have a mind of it’s own, and it was pretty sharp, blunt and quick-witted! Or I thought so, anyway. My mother; well, she wasn’t so impressed.

I wasn’t clueless about the stresses my parents were under all of those years. They suddenly found themselves raising 5 complex kids, had great financial struggles, and were dealing with a host of other issues including health, extended family matters, and the frustration of trying to make dreams come true, for us all, out of nothing.

Knowing all of that at the time, I clearly was not clueless. I was simply….selfish.  Too wrapped up in me, myself, and I, to make their role as parents any easier.  Instead, I made it all so much worse.  I honestly, don’t even know what I would do with me, if I was my parent. (Although in her moments of sheer frustration, my mother did vocalize her wish upon me, a time or two, that I might have a kid just like me, someday.) I can only imagine the frustration and hurt I must have built up in my parents, on some days. My mother in particular, since my father worked so many hours, and my mother was the one there, trying to raise us the best she could. I was enough to handle on my own; never mind that there were 4 other kids being raised, besides me.

How did she manage? Where did she turn to vent, when she had ‘had it up to here’! ( I can still see her today, referring with her hand to that level juuuust over her own head. ).  I know she had some good friends (who also had kids) who she had over, who she had coffee with, and she was always shoo-ing us back outside because they were ‘talking’. Or, sometimes, I’d see the curly cord from that horrid green colored phone on our 70’s wall-papered kitchen wall, snaked through the crack in the doorway to the pantry, where she was talking to someone. Maybe even crying.  [Read more…]

Thoughts on a Happy New Year!

Or we certainly hope and pray so! Right?

Come the end of every calendar year, we all wish each other a ‘Happy New Year!’. Naturally, that truly is our wish for each other, and in fact, ourselves. And damn if it doesn’t feel good, to have that fresh new calender year ahead of us! A clean slate. A new start, with new hope. 12 months, when all kinds of wonderful things, have the potential to happen!

But the fact is, we all know that life, is just not happy ALL of the time. And it certainly does not come about, with just hopes and wishes.

If we’re human, and I can only assume anyone reading this is, the truth of the matter is that no one ever has a 100% happy year. One free of very difficult unexpected events, failures, losses and rough days that just seem to go all wrong with the little things. Things that can sometimes just pile up and break us down. No, no one has ever had a year free of all of those things. Chances are, not a soul will have one this year, either! And I just feel it on my heart to share my thoughts with you all, a little bit, about that today. Not because I want to bring anyone down, to kick off your new year! Perhaps, so no one is overly disappointed when day 3, or any other brand new day of the new year, seems to go all wrong. 😉   But, more-so, my intention is to bring you some great hope and comfort about the matter!  In my own rambling kind of way, of course.

I’ve just been thinking, how people seem to be hardwired, to [Read more…]

Just Maybe, God Pushed Me Down the Stairs.

I know.

The title….it sounds a little dramatic. But it’s pretty much the conclusion I have come to, after recent events.  You see, I can be pretty darn stubborn.  God knows this about me. I think maybe He tried many times, to get my attention. But I, being as stubborn as I can be, unwisely dismissed His obvious and gentler signs.  So, I think just maybe, He pushed me down the stairs.  Literally. I have 2 things to say to that:

  1.    “OWWW!!”
  2.    “OK, I’m listening now.”

    **Important to note: This is a true story about my health, and the wake up call that changed everything.  The happenings of these events actually took place quite some time ago now.  I typed this post out as a therapy of sorts, and because I felt it was a story that needed to be told, to other women. In particular, other mothers. But I didn’t have the courage to post it at the time, until now, well over a year to year 1/2 after the events. It’s just a little more personal in nature than my typical posts, and involves speaking of my mother as well – whom I did and do love so very much.  But as my mother, her story is very much interwoven into mine, and an integral part of the story as a whole.  It’s only her permission I would seek, to speak of her. So I’ll presume I have some blessing from Heaven, for the bigger purpose of possibly having some positive impact on others. Perhaps even saving lives. Her story was never a secret, to the many (many!), who loved her, anyway. 
    **Also note: Though I cannot imagine anyone would disagree with me, the details and mentions of my mother are stated as strictly my own personal viewpoints, opinions, and experiences. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else, but myself.

        In conclusion of this prelude, I would like to state that I have made the many little and good changes in my life, that I needed to make, and all for the better.  – Laura

    (January 2012)

 I’d venture to guess, I’m like many other mothers.

     Not all, but I am quite sure there are some mothers out there who may read this, and feel they can relate. I’m the one who is always thinking of the health and well-being, of my family. That includes nagging my husband.  (I say nagging, because I cannot tell him what to do, and he knows he doesn’t have to listen to me. Who told him that?). He happens to be quite healthy.  (Perhaps, thanks in part, to me ; ).  He has never had surgery of any kind. Never been hospitalized. He did have to go to the ER once though, which brings to mind a hilarious fishing story, I must tell you sometime.  But he just does not think in terms of protecting his health. He gets exercise, by accident, by working hard. (And we’re thankful to him for that.).  He has a wicked sweet tooth, and if left to his own accord, just eats and drinks whatever sounds good to him. Wearing a mask when paint air-brushing, or working in very dusty construction environments, is a repetitive battle between us.

     But what I can do, and I DO, is encourage and enforce any and all healthy habits in my children, that I possibly can.  On a daily basis. And, I’m good at it.  I am the one, that makes sure they are eating a balanced diet, when looking over the day as a whole, and within each meal. I monitor their sugar intake (which minimal, on treat/surprise basis, and they thank me for it).  They have developed such healthy eating habits choice:  They rejoice out loud, over vegetables at dinner many kids despise, drink tons of water each day, etc. I see so many healthy habits, in terms of consumption, took root with them long ago.  I see to it that they get their regular physical exams, eye exams, regular teeth cleanings, orthodontics, keep them clean, teach them how to shower and properly brush their teeth, make sure they get enough sleep, etc.  They get plenty of daily exercise and fresh air, and play basketball, volleyball, flag football, and ice skate.

     Of course, health comes in many forms. Body, Mind and Spirit. So I also foster their education, give them the tools to nurture their inner passions and dreams, encourage them to serve others or get involved in a ministry that speaks to them, and most importantly, guide them on their path in their faith, to becoming God-loving people, who feel called to serve others with compassion, are kind, and have a general strong and good character.   What drives me to oversee and regulate these things, is the same thing that drives any good mothers:  I want my children to be, now and forever, healthy, and the fulfilled beings God calls them to be.   That takes forming good habits for life, and the earlier they start, the more natural such a lifestyle will be for them.  I  love them with all I am, and so of course, I want the best for them. And anyway, this is the JOB God assigned me to, in blessing me with them. Right?  It may sound like a tall order, but it all comes quite naturally for me. My LOVE for them, is my incentive.

It also comes just as naturally for me, to put myself, last

I say these 2 words to myself, all too often:  “I’M FINE.”  And more times than not, if all is well with my kids and husband, all is good in the world. I’m taking care of business pretty well.  In my own mind, I have taken what I thought was acceptable care of myself.  For instance, I don’t eat a lot of junk either.  The kids do eat full blown breakfast and lunches. I mean, I chuckle at their courses.  It must be the Italian in their blood, as every meal seems to be a real event.  Me? Well, I eat when I feel like I need to.  Usually because something is not feeling quite right.  And then I think, “OH, maybe I should eat.” So I stuff a quick carb in my mouth, or eat an apple. As long as it’s fast, because by golly, I have important things to do today!  Everyone tells me, that since I homeschool, and have triplets and/or 4 kids, that they are sure they (the kids schedules) keep me running around, and they just don’t know how I do it.  So I just go with that, and check off exercise. ; )  I have had medical appointments I should make, but REALLY……DO YOU KNOW how many appointments and commitments I am running my kids to on a weekly basis?  I really don’t need any more appointments on my calendar, thank you very much!  And for what?  I’M FINE.  Oh, I may go to one I can’t get out of now and then. But generally, if I can get out of doctor appointments for myself, I do.  Check-ups? Ppffftt!  I’M FINE!

I should know better, really. 

My own mother’s health, was never good.  I loved her very much.  She was a woman of deep and obvious faith in God. She lived it in most every way. She was a strong woman, except for addressing and correcting the treatment of herself. Her addictions, as I know they were, had a lifetime hold on her, that in my eyes, she never tried hard enough to beat. Her health and bad habits, were a constant source of tension and argument, between us. I was a difficult kid to raise. As a teenager, especially, I really gave her a run for her money, and pushed her limits.  But the older I got, and especially after becoming a mother myself, I really came around to understanding where all of her rules and fretting came from: Love for me. She and I really came full circle, and became very close, in the many years before her passing. Except for the health issue.  She was a heavy smoker, did not have healthy eating habits, did not get good exercise, and generally would not get it together. Heart disease and cancer ran in her family, and most every one of her siblings had already died from these things. She was the baby, and was digging her own grave. It was killing me to see her do it. I knew we would lose her sooner than any of us wanted, if she didn’t make efforts to get healthy.  We argued about it many times, and I even went so far as to bravely throw her great faith in God, in her face. Using God’s Word, to make her listen. Because she sure was not listening to me. But it didn’t work.

Her health issues put our whole family through hell many times. After that quadruple bypass heart surgery, she went on to have an aneurysm under her heart that required another emergency the doctor did not expect her to live through. But she did. Then, they couldn’t get her off life support with confidence she would take over breathing on her own.  But she did. However, she spent 5 months in a rehab facility (where she resumed smoking, as it turns out), finally got home and recovered once again.  But, she had a stroke a year later, and lost her speech, some motor skills, and ended up in a wheelchair. My father took care of her through it all, and living 2.5 hours away, we went out to help as much as we could too. Believe it or not, she really bounced back from all of that as well!  She was a ‘bull’, as my father often said. She was tough stuff, but she had said many times she really looked forward to going to Heaven and meeting Jesus, and the Blessed Mother (she loved the Rosary), more than she had the will to fight to live on earth. But she did.  I had prepared myself mentally so many times, for my mother’s imminent death.  She gave us all multiple opportunities. But it was 3 years following her stroke, when she seemed to have more brightness in her eyes, and spunk than ever, she died of a sudden heart attack at home, alone.  It sounds odd to say, but it really was unexpected, at that time.  We were shocked, and devastated.  All of my emotional and mental preparation, was for nothing. For the first time, I truly felt what real grief was. And I was mad at her too. My mother was a beautiful person, who really lacked some discipline with her health.

But I, am not my mother.

Right? In now knowing what my mother’s lifestyle was like, you may be able to imagine why I have presumed myself to be some better picture of health. I am not a smoker. Oh, I was, in my late teens and early 20’s, but I quit that long ago. Over 20 years ago. And I cannot even begin to express how much I despise cigarette smoke, anywhere around. I will go to great lengths, not to expose my children to it, in the least amount. Even outdoors. No one is aloud to smoke anywhere near us.  I do not get the foolishness, of smoking. I find is a repulsive habit. My weight is considered perfectly acceptable, for my height. Quite in the healthy range, I have heard, at my rare doctor appointments.  I’m a busy mom, so I get enough exercise.  I “eat to live, not live to eat”. (How’s that for justification? ; )  I’m running around all of the time. I’M FINE!

This is where the story gets…..eye opening.  Possibly comical.

Many weeks back now, I had been having a few really rough weeks.  To put it simply, I was T I R E D, and I was feeling quite pathetic.  Throughout my days, I was doing only what I had to do, for my family and home. I was sending my kids, to get me things in the next room, because the idea of getting up to get it myself, was an overwhelming thought, to me.  I got tired from just standing at the sink, and washing dishes.  I sat on the couch all I could, and flat out lied down and snuck in a nap, if I could. I’d catch a glimpse of me in the mirror, and be shocked at my appearance. I mean…I looked like hell. There was no 2 ways about it.  I looked like I hadn’t slept, in weeks. I was taking a shower and going to bed, soon after dinner.   Are you getting the picture?  All the while, I was really starting to feel very down about myself, and my lack of any energy. I wondered, “When, did I become this pathetic?  I am the picture of lazy. But I’m just so tired. Tomorrow, I’ll do more.”   I was really just having one dark day, after another, for weeks.

Then the day came along, when my husband showed me the mail. There was a letter from our life insurance company.  Apparently, they had put my policy on standby, because I had not followed up with a doctor, following my ER visit over the previous summer. (2010) It said something about severe anemia.  Oh yeah…..Well to make along story short, that summer night some months prior, I had woken up during the night with chest pain, and after not being able to take a good breathe, tingles my arm which then went numb, and breaking out in a cold sweat, I was sure I was suffering a heart attack. Mind you, that’s how my mother died, so I was freakin’. I went to the hospital via ambulance at 4 a.m., and asking them to pu-leaz not use any sirens, and wake up and scare my children. So anyway, doctor staff at the hospital had a few vague guesses as to what happened, but what they were most concerned about was unrelated, but something they had discovered with the blood labs they ran.  They told me I was severly anemic, and they were extremely concerned about that. The doctor went on and on at my bedside, but what I could hear most, was my own happy voice in my head, “So, I wasn’t having a heart attack like my mother?  For real?  I’m good?  Sure, o.k., take this iron every day….O.K.  Gotcha! I’m so out of here!” I was so grateful to go home to my family.   A call later from my own physician, informed me I probably suffered a bout of Pluerisy. I did start taking the iron they suggested, but I found it caused other problems. :roll:  So I quit. No time for that.

But here were those words in front of me again, on this insurance letter: 

Severe Anemia.  It sounded familiar…..more familiar than just from the ER.  Hmmm.  Maybe THAT was why I was so tired lately?  But in the big picture at that moment, with that letter in my hand, I was concerned about the life insurance policy thing. I just needed to know that was active. So darn it all……I was going to have to make an appointment to go to the doctors, I guess.  I did, that day.  I went to bed early again, that night.

I slept good and hard, until I woke up because frankly, I had to go potty. Badly. Like….bladder about to burst. Much to my disappointment, there was no ignoring it and going back to sleep.  So I dragged myself up, went, and got back to bed as soon quick as I could. Which, frankly, was not very quick. Lying in bed again, I realized I was winded. “Really?” I thought. From going potty? Just then there was a great big crash upstairs.  I mean…..the house shook. I thought our youngest daughter must have fallen out of her bed in her room above us, but she never cried or called us. I could not even believe it, but Michael did not even jump, or miss a beat with his snoring beside me, when the crash happened.  I was annoyed with that. I grew increasingly irked, because now, I was continuing to hear….something upstairs.  Scampering. I thought then, maybe Olivia knocked something off her bed, and now she was searching under her bed in the dark, trying to find it? But it went on, and on, and on.   I wanted to wake Michael up, to go check out what was happening up there. Because I did not want to drag myself out of bed, and climb those stairs?  But then that made me feel pathetic again.  I said to myself, in my head, “Really.  You are going to wake up Michael, who is clearly quite deeply asleep, because you are too lazy to get up and go check yourself.”  That chat with me, made me feel bad enough to throw the covers back once again, and go check myself.

I turned on the stairwell light, and began the climb of the stairs. There seemed to be more steps, than the last time I went upstairs. But finally, I was standing in Olivia’s doorway, looking at her sound asleep on her bed. I could hardly believe my eyes. But, as I stood there and listened…..there was that noise again!  But she was asleep.  I wanted to check my oldest daughter’s room behind me, but all I could really think about was, “I can’t stand here. I want to sit down. Michael needs to do this.”  So I started back down the stairs.  I remember thinking, “It’s a long way to my bed from here….”, and I felt like I was dreaming for a second.  Next thing I know, I was in a whole lot of pain, and in a heap at the bottom of the stairs.  I was trying to stand….as the whole family was jumping out of bed and awake now, wide-eyed and shook up, wondering what just happened. I had fallen all the way down the stairs, and desperately did not want my kids to see me like that and scare them, but I could not find which way was UP.

I eventually got to my bed and got my feet elevated.  Michael got the kids settled and back to bed, and when I finally felt ‘right’ again, I knew something very telling just happened. I had not just slipped or fallen down the stairs.  I literally go so weak, that I literally collapsed and passed out.  I. Hurt. Everywhere.   But I began to figure out what happened.  Not only that night, but had been happening for weeks.  I had to guess that I was running lower, and lower, on iron. And that night, I just about bottomed out! Suddenly, I was sure it was that anemia problem. Good thing I had an appointment in a week or so. But the next day, I started taking that iron I was supposed to. Honestly, after 1 day, I felt like a new woman!  That confirmed to me, it was the iron deficiency issue I had been dealing with the past few weeks.  NOT Lazy Syndrome, as I feared.

I realized over the next few days though, that the incident really shook my kids up.  I was limping around, everywhere we went. Still tired, but less so.  But I was just bruised and battered all over, from the stairs fall.  And there was a familiarity to my state, that made me remember some other past situations I apparently had chosen to forget.   Like the bad (bad) shower fall I had, just a few years ago, when I closed my eyes for a second, and lost all balance. I was extremely tired in those weeks too.  It was around that time that I had gone to a pressured-into physical exam, needed or we would lose our doctor in that practice, or something. This visit, I was not seeing my own doctor, but his own physician assistant.  I hadn’t met her before, but when she came in, she said almost immediately, with quite a puzzled tone, “You know, I don’t really know you. But are you tired?  Because you look really, really tired to me.”  I responded that I was no more tired than I was usual for me. I was kind of used to ‘pushing through’.  She said that wasn’t normal. Even for moms, and ordered a full blood panel of work.   There was some iron/B12 issues, and that was why I was so tired. (Uhh…..anemic. Yes. Guess that was the word they used that time too.) As I recall, I even had to go for regular B12 shots for awhile, until we found the little pills worked well enough. When I took them.

The fall down the stairs not only scared me, it scared my kids.  The doctor appointment and subsequent blood work I had done, showed I was ‘Severely Anemic’.  That, after lots of daily iron for a week. So I knew….it was SO much worse, a week ago when I collapsed on the stairs.  I knew, and it haunted me…..I could have hit my head, and died.  And really, I guess I don’t eat well.  Not enough, and not at the right times. It’s not balanced.  Not to mention I probably should be exercising, you know, on purpose.  And there was a few other meds I’ve been supposed to be taking. But you know, I’ve never liked the idea, of having to taking medication. So it was another thing I was probably not doing well. The revelations were really just snowballing.  Oh yes, I should know I should be taking better care of myself.  But really, it was the fall down the stairs, that really woke me up.  Made me realize, I should be doing all I can, to be here, well and healthy, for my children. I really want to be. I do not want to put them through, all I went through, as a result of my own mother’s neglect of her health.  I don’t want them to suffer the grief of losing me, that I did with her.  Especially given that they are much younger.  They need meME.

I Get It Now.

I feel guilty, for having ignored the signs all along the way. I mean, what a fool. I can hardly blame God, if it was Him, giving me a swift kick of His sandal in the backside, for a little wake-up-tumble.  If it was Him, and I think it was, I thank Him, really.   I am eating more frequently now, and really making sure it’s balanced food groups. I am exercising, on purpose, regularly, and getting my heart rate up, at least a few times a week.  I have had several doctors appointments now, and yes…..it’s as much as a hassle as I knew it would be, and it is a great big pain, fitting such extra appointments on my already busy-enough calendar.  I am working on taking all of the medications I was supposed to be taking.  There is one that is taking a bigger commitment to stay on, that I am also coming to terms with, because I know I need it.  (There’s a good few, for more than I wanted to get into this time. Mostly just the way I am made up. Like the low iron, no matter how much iron rich food I eat. And a B12 deficiency to boot. I simply need to supplement these things, forever. Then there are genetic numbers, as well. But this is long enough, don’t you think? I can say I have always been dismissive of having to take medication. Until I realized I had to, for various things.) I have a weekly pill box now, with everything I need to take daily. And I really do. Yes, it’s kind of a bother. But my children, my family, they are worth it.  For gosh sakes, who would keep everyone else healthy around here, if I was gone?  While I have never had really bad health habits, I could be a better example, and have really good ones. I should be a SHINING EXAMPLE. After all, I know from experience, that a mother’s lifestyle, can effect her children’s lives and hearts, in so many ways. I’m seriously working on it all now. BALANCE. I need to be healthy and HERE, to take care of everyone else too. AND YOU DO TOO!!

I could really ride the excuse or 2, that my brain so quickly serves up, to start slipping back into my old ways. But when I do, I remind myself of the same kind of words I used at my mother, that I still think was such a valid argument, and one than cannot be denied:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”   (Corinthians 6: 19-20)

 Thank you so much, for reading. It’s difficult enough for me to let down my walls, with the people in my life.
Never mind spill my heart, to the whole world.  But it is my hope you might take any little bit of encouragement, from my story.
Blessings to you. – Laura

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Christmas Eve / Morning – 2012

With Christmas 2012 behind us, we ultimately decided to blog a little bit of it, before we move on to wrapping up our year of projects for you, revealing a new one, and jumping into the new year with both feet, and some bigger projects than ever, that you are welcome to follow along with us. I cannot wait to get to all of that, and hopefully you all might have some great ideas and help for us along the way. It’s going to be too much fun!

But first, our little Christmas. We try to keep the entire season quite simple and stress-free.  (Not always an easy thing to do – right?). We celebrate Advent, we decorate, make some handmade gifts and shop a little, bake, drive around neighborhoods at night with cocoa to see people’s Christmas lights, and stuff like that.  We also try to not get too distracted from remembering that Jesus’ birth, and what the course of His earthly life would mean for us all, is the whole purpose of our own celebrations, personally. Some years Christmas Eve and Day is more simple than others, with a little more or less gifts or family/friends around. 

This year we went to Christmas Eve Mass, and had a quiet evening at home, with a little festive food spread.  While we had bought the kids a few gifts, Michael and I decided not to put them out the night before.  First because, one, two, or all of them tend to get up during the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, and I really didn’t want them to see anything.  Secondly, I was kind of curious what their reaction would be. There have been Christmas’ where the only gifts they received were from extended family and friends. But this year, since this year has progressively gone quite well, and we could afford more, I actually asked them all what they might want for Christmas. That’s something I’ve never actually done. Their requests were easy enough: certain books (Olivia and the Trio), a new basketball (Shane), a Pillow Pet (JackMichael), socks, (socks?), and Patriots or Tim Tebow calendar (Alexis).  So we got them those things, and a few more surprises.  But when they got up in the morning, there was nothing more under the tree than there had been all week: packages that had arrived for them from other family, and a large gift bag each from a sweet family friend. Still, they were bouncing around the house all happy-chatty and excited because well . . . it was Christmas Day.  And they love Christmas.

(After Mass on Christmas Eve.)

But Michael and I were pretty excited, to give them their gifts! So after breakfast and an hour or so of chilling in our pajamas, we asked the kids to go upstairs for a few minutes, until we called them.  After the 4 “Why?” ‘s, and our refusal to answer, they went up, and we got everything around the tree.  Despite the fact that there is a lot more to our simple Christmas than presents, that happens to be all I took photos of this year! lol.  Since I do intend to get back to some major scrapbooking some day, and I take photos of the kids through their childhood for their/our own memories, I always ponder if I should bother blogging these kinds of things. But our oldest (Alexis) and husband say yes – it’s our family blog in the end, and they want these memories a part of it too. Not just all of our projects and things we do. So I put together a small collection of some of my favorite photos of them opening their gifts. Note: I am TERRIBLE with on camera flash. Ugh-hate using it.  But the important thing for our family history is having these (any) family photos someday – perfect or not, they will be treasured more and more as time goes on. So I am embracing candid casual photography, to most enjoy these times with my family. There is a little description with each photo. But I’ll also say that aside from what they are sitting in, and a small gift each from us, they also got a few small things together, and one bigger item (which has not yet arrived), and will be part of another post (a major room revamp), coming soon.

If you look through the slideshow, you can use the arrows to go to the next one. Anytime you want to get out of the slideshow mode, simply click ON the photo, and it will close out.

However you and your family does Christmas, we hope it was beautiful, meaningful, peaceful, and you were surrounded by love and happiness.

“I Am Third” / A Wood Palette Sign

It’s always a great day, when I finally get something OUT of my head, and am able to find the time to bring it to life, and have it real and in front of me.  It makes me happy because, there’s a whole lot in my head, that never (ever) gets out!  I wish I could do all of the projects that I actually think of, but I have other joyful obligations too, than just being all artsy 24/7.  So only a small percentage of my notions ever actually come to be.
I’m really glad this one did though, because it’s a meaningful one in our home.

The vision was a wood palette sign.  And we usually have no shortage of those, as this is what our driveway often looks like . . . . . .

. . . . and there’s more where those came from.  Michael is able to get them from work by the load anytime.  Many of them he chops up and we burn in our wood stove. Free wood is always good!  But they are great for many other things too.  And a palette was perfect for my idea for the sign I wanted to make.

The theme of the sign is a phrase we are fond of in our family, and try to live by, and it is this:

I am third.
You may well guess all on your own.
Like all families with many kids, one of my tasks as a parent is to teach my children to always put God first, be compassionate of others, and make great efforts to be selfless whenever possible.  Having triplets, you can imagine we’ve had many teachable moments and conversations about this kind of thing from toddler-hood on up, while encouraging them to share, and not grow with any kind of mindset that our own wants and needs should always or ever be first. That’s just not how we roll, as Christians.  Of course, this philosophy of serving, goes far beyond the constraints of our family, and the walls of our home. It applies to our world and every day we live in it, and with all whom we interact with across the board, from absolute strangers, to acquaintances, to loved ones a part of our personal lives, and everyone in between whom we happen upon daily .  I want that to stick with my kids, as they grow older in their faith, and take on this world, with all of their plans and dreams before them. It can only help, for each one of us to be reminded often.

And so with another an extra piece of plywood, some old extra nails we had on hand, and some paint and a brush, the palette sign I saw in my head for so long, was created:

Because of the list form of my idea, I saw the palette as the perfect material for the sign.
It was cut down to a size of about 20″ x 27″.

I wanted it kept as simple as possible. Rustic, raw, and straightforward. Sure, it may not always be easy to live the message. 
But God always forgives us, and we always have the opportunity to keep on trying.
It is a simple concept to remember, in terms of the priorities we want to strive to serve in our life:

For some reason, I always saw it in this darker red.  When it came time to paint, I stopped and considered other colors.
But I really needed to create it just as I had envisioned it for so long. Or else I could go crazy. 

Michael hung it up the very same day. Right there where we all see it, again and again, every day.  He loves it as much as I do.
I suppose others may come into our home, start to read it, and be a little perplexed.  But one of the most cherished things about having a home to me, is making it a place that is meaningful to our family. It’s the little things, that are personal and of the heart, that make it feel like home.  And this sign….. and all it says….it means something to us.  It’s an awareness that we want to be reminded of, again and again. Not just the kids. But all of us. I know I can use such a gentle reminder, as often as anyone else.

There is lots more space on this particular wall in our open living space, up there with the clock. The wall is much bigger than it even appears in this photo, with the cathedral ceiling.  We realize the sign is so flush left, and leaves the wall as a whole quite unbalanced. But we’re ok with that for now.  Soon enough, the wall all around the clock will be filled with other things that mean something to us. Maybe more signs.  Who knows. But we have no desire to rush these things, just to fill up and balance the wall. It’s what is hanging there, that matters to us. 
All of the space? Well, that’s what I call inspiration. Like a blank sheet of lined paper, or a canvas.  The possibilities are endless, and exciting.

The kids have really embraced the lesson, most days. But when they are together and it’s needed, because one, or some, or all are reverting back to looking out for themselves over little things,  I like to remind them: 
“If everyone put everyone else second, you’ll always actually be second, too! Not third. Right? So just be a good example.”  ; )
I’m a tricky Mama. ; )

I wonder what I’ll be able to get out of my head, next.

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