It's the Monday after a whirlwind weekend.

It's the Monday where my firstborn moves into the double-digits.
Which means its the Monday where I get all sentimental and look through the baby pictures and wonder what happened to the last decade? Where did my baby go?

I blinked...

It's the Monday where we throw our first ever friends-party for said 10 year old.
It's possibly the Monday where we throw our last ever friends-party. (Time will tell...)

It's the Monday where we look forward to an entire week's break from "school" for Thanksgiving.
It's the Monday where I realize there is only 4 more Mondays until Christmas!

It's gonna be the Monday where this cutie get lots of smoochie-smoochie-kisses, as she likes to call it...

And the Monday where I answer yes to the "Want to draw with me, Mom?!" questions from these three...

It's the Monday where I am going to pull out the Christmas decorations.

It's also the Monday where I've gotta clean the toilets and change the sheets on the bed...but the other stuff is way more fun to write about.

Happy Monday everyone!

**This tbt hails from 2013: Yet, it rings just as true today. And probably tomorrow. And two years from now.**

Sometimes we skip days.
Sometimes I yell at the kids.
Sometimes (almost all the time) I think "I can't do this."
Sometimes we just wing it.
Sometimes I think my kids aren't that smart.
Sometimes we call trips to the grocery store a field trip.
Sometimes we work on the same thing over and over and over and over because it just doesn't seem to be sinking in.
Sometimes I'm afraid I'm just messing my kids up.
Sometimes I just want to send them all on the magic yellow bus and call it a day.
Sometimes I really hate homeschooling.

And then...

Sometimes we work ahead of schedule.
Sometimes I get to watch a lightbulb go off.
Sometimes I get to snuggle with my kids and read and read and read to them, books that once delighted me as a child.
Sometimes I think "nany-nany-nah-nah" when I see that yellow school bus passing by and I'm still sitting in my pajamas sipping my coffee while my kids are still sleeping.
Sometimes I get to sit and paint with my kids while listening to Chopin and talk about things I am passionate about.
Sometimes we take really cool field trips.
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed at how brilliant my kids are.
Sometimes I really love homeschooling.

I just finished reading Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe (thanks for the loan, Tasha) and was especially convicted at how "together" I can sometimes portray myself to be regarding our homeschool.

I always want to keep it real.

And real means...

We have really really good days.
We have really really bad days.
And sometimes, we just have regular days.

Here's to celebrating the good days, learning from the bad days, and surviving the regular days.

Jeremiah made it back from Madagascar. We made it back from my moms. Things slowly worked their way back into a routine. The Halloween candy has been dumped. Jeremiah is catching up from the backlog that was October. School is marching on. The holidays are staring me in the face.

Life goes on.

Always going on.

But, sometimes, you are gifted with a little bit of time where you actually take a deep breath.
And you breathe,
let your shoulders relax,
and take account of all that the Lord has done, is doing...will do.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and My burden is light. 
Matthew 11:28-30

Last week, right after a cold snap, we found this butterfly on our front porch.

The frost had settled on his wings and it was obvious he wasn't going to make that long flight south.

Sure enough, a few hours later, despite the suns best efforts to dry off the frost, he had died.

The kids were heart-broken...and there might have been tears, a funeral, and a tiny cross grave marker. There is no such thing as "just a butterfly" to them.

(FTR: There is such a thing as "just a stinkbug" in our household.)

It might just be a butterfly right now, but deeper heartbreak is coming. I hear a lot of  parents talk about wanting to shield their kids from death or loss or experiencing pain...and I get the root of that sentiment. I truly do. No parent wants their child to encounter unhappiness. Yet, the reality is sadness, heartbreak, and distress are inevitable in their lives...either from outside sources or consequences for their own bad choices.

My goal is not to protect them from all pain. My job is to teach them in those heartbroken moments while they are still in my care the beautiful truth that God sees their pain and he is with them.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
Yet not one of them falls to the ground outside of your father knowing it. 
Matthew 10:29

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8

I have realized that if I am living in fear of my child experiencing pain, then I am not trusting in the sovereignty of my God. 

I don't need to jump in and try to fix it, I need to allow them the opportunity to feel their feelings and allow the Great Comforter to become real in their life. 

Because he is real. 

And that is the only thing that will be enough for them as they walk through this wonderful, terrible, joy and pain filled life.

I may be a bit biased, but I have come to the conclusion that we living in the absolute most beautiful place for the Fall season. I love much about NC, but VA kicks NC's booty in the fall beauty department. Just observin'

Just a few pics of the kids playing in the yard, with the most beautiful backdrop ever...

For the record, let it be noted that I, not Jeremiah, built this fire. I am woman, hear me roar.
And we ate marshmellows and hot dogs and called it dinner. No one can ever not call me the fun parent.

Happy Fall, ya'll!

We've been married for 12 years now, so that makes me a bonafide marriage expert. 

Well, maybe expert is too strong of a word. I'm more like a specialist? 

No, that's not right either.

I actually feel that marriage fits right in there with all the other the-more-you-know-the-less-you-realize-you-know categories...parenting, God, life.

It's like that arcade game Wac-a-mole: I hit one thing square on and then another thing sneaks up on me. Oh, so you think you've figured out the whole communication thing? BAM! Didn't see that sex/money/fill-in-the-blank issue coming for us.

Because Jeremiah travels so much, I have started a habit of reading (or re-reading) a marriage book whenever he goes out of town. Or, if I don't get to a book, I will try taking a few days to take account of my marriage during my quiet times. Because, really, what better time to evaluate and work on your marriage than when your husband is halfway around the globe?! I get to be perfect at it for a few whole days until he comes home.

This trip, I've been finishing up Capture His Heart, by Lysa Terkeurst. Two major points have resonated within me as I have needed reminding of these things which are so important for my marriage...

I need to invite him to be dangerous.

My desire for planning and security and lets just get real here, my desire for control, can easily take over all in the name of responsibility and I can squelch this God-given need in my husband. I remember reading Wild at Heart by John Elidridge years ago and had my eyes opened to how the Lord has placed in the heart of every man a desire for a battle to fight, and adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. I know, it sounds cheesy...but now, 12 married years later and 2 boys later...I know this is true.

I need to send him on his "adventure" (which is going to look differently for every man) not with a passive aggressive assuage of guilt, but with a sense of support and the knowledge that I am with him and that I love this part about him.

I need to not forget the power of a shared dream.

The dentist appointments, school projects, field trips, bills, oil changes, and the its-time-to-empty-the-dishwasher-yet-again moments can overrun your day, your week, and your marriage. I can get so bogged down in doing life shoulder to shoulder with Jeremiah that I forget how powerful face to face time can be. I need to take the time to prioritize this, to ask those deeper life questions, to stay on the same page, to remember and reminisce with him about what God has done in our life. And what He is still doing! The Lord placed a dream in our hearts way back in our dating days...of living a life on mission for Him. It was a shared dream and is a powerful connector when life doesn't seem so dream-like.

What about you?

Got any nuggets of marriage advice that have rocked your world lately?