Thanksgiving on a shoestring? No problem.

It’s my pleasure to be Stephanie over with the Multi-Tasking Mom this week talking about making Thanksgiving memories with your family on a shoestring.

Remember a few years ago when I had pneumonia that started at Thanksgiving and ended in January in the Dominican Republic? I wrote about that Thanksgiving for Stephanie.

Honestly, that day and the Christmas that followed are still some of my most precious memories. I love how God shows up and makes something beautiful out of the ashes of our lives… again and again and again.

C’mon over to Stephanie’s corner of the web and read on…

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“you’re not allowed to cry” and other such nonsense

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“You are not allowed to cry right now because I’m barely holding it together and I can’t hold it together for both of us.”

Standing off to the side of the cardiac floor waiting room, I actually said those words… over the phone… to my 18-year-old daughter.

Seriously.

Not necessarily a Mom-of-the-Year response to the fact that her world was indeed caving in. My weak defense is that at the time of that statement, my father was undergoing open heart surgery and an aortic valve replacement and I was going on 2 hours of sleep. If it helps, I did end the conversation on a more positive note …

“I need you to be strong. We’ll get this all worked out. I love you!”

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Later, the nurses gifted us with a few minutes to see Dad and his miriad of tubes and wires and monitors and pumps. While my mom held his hand, my man checked out the bags of IV fluid, the drainage tubes, the pumps and the monitors. Thankfully, he speaks the language of the Cardio-Vascular ICU and knows how to interpret tubes and wires. He was also prepping for a conversation with my RN sister who is in the Dominican Republic. I watched my mom and I watched my man but mostly I watched my Dad’s chest go up and down as the ventilator breathed for him. It was not easy seeing Superman tied down.

Walking out a few tears leaked through and my man stopped to let me rest my head on his shoulder. Instead of leaning in, I pushed back and told him I could not let myself give into the tears lest the dam break and I flood the hallway. The tears would have to wait.

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As I sat in church on Sunday morning more than a few tears leaked out. All the pent-up fatigue, fear of the unknown, and frustration with Emme’s schooling threatened to spew forth. More than once, I considered walking out to wait in the truck. Honestly, though, I was more concerned that someone would see me than I was dealing with the bubbling emotion.

I came home to an undercooked lunch and an overly emotional daughter, pretty much summing up how life felt. While we put the meat in skillets to finish cooking and the potatoes in the microwave, I held a crying daughter. Nothing about losing Federal financial aid and having to pack up and transfer from the university of her choice to our local community college has been easy. She has been advocating for herself and doing a fabulous job jumping through hoop after hoop after hoop thrown her way.

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It’s often road trips that allow my mind to wander enough to unwind. Rather than get a chance to just sit and shed the tears that were threatening, God gave me the gift of a road trip. Driving to the lake to put away summer water toys allowed for uninterrupted conversation with my man. Honestly, Chad knows me better than I know myself and can often see through my emotion to the cause underneath. Great conversation, deep laughter, and a little bit of chocolate helped change my perspective. Watching football with my dad and chasing the sunset home were simply the icing on the cake.

On the other side of the trauma of open heart surgery and the drama of our community college, the skies are clearer. Dad is home and the puzzle pieces of getting Emme admitted and access to her assignments online are slowly falling into place.

Looking back, I wish I would never have uttered “you’re not allowed to cry.” While I said that out of fear of opening the dam of tears, letting a little steam off would have saved us both some anguish. Somethings are just nonsense.

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erasing history like it’s 1984

The year was 1984 and I sat, enraptured, watching the novel of the same name play across my high school’s stage. Attending the performance was a requirement for my sophomore English class. Watching 1984 that evening was my first introduction to George Orwell. A week later, I finished the novel. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. While it made sense from a literary fiction standpoint, I couldn’t get it to make sense in my mind as any sort of reality.

2 plus 2 does not equal 5, regardless of how many times you tell me it does.

Big brother isn’t watching, I mean, really? How could he?

And, doublethink? It isn’t possible.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ~George Orwell, 1984

That was a fall evening in 1984.

Welcome to 2017 where the thought police roam social media, individuals find freedom in hating others, and only feelings matter.

We’ve deleted scenes from our history books, we’ve denied our past, and we’ve destroyed the evidence. And now? Now, we are accepting our own version of an alternate reality. A surrogate reality in which history makes us feel good and reveals that our own set of beliefs is right and everyone is wrong.

We’re doing this by erasing history like it’s 1984.

To what end? To a society in which the Party is always right? Who’s the party and why do we think they’re always right?

In the words of a long-time friend… who’s ‘they’ anyway?

We’ve become a society of US vs THEM. Regardless of where you land, and how many sides to the battle you see, everyone is fighting to prove another side wrong, driven by fear and hatred.

Have we noticed that the battle is getting bloodier and no one is winning?

Erasing history doesn’t erase the pain of generations past nor does it change the torment of our present battles.

“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” ~ George Orwell, 1984

The history that is so quickly being deleted, denied, and destroyed by those on multiple sides is the very story that defines who we are and where we’ve been. Erasing it only denies the generations to come the freedom to learn from our past and to live better than we who are battling US vs THEM with fear and hatred are.

Seems like a great gift to leave our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And, let’s leave the erasing of history to 1984.

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when life shifts…

Once upon a time, I used to blog here.

“Used to” is the operative phrase in that sentence. It’s been over 11 months since I last chronicled any part of my life in this small corner. I hung out here often, sharing snippets of my journey and stories of my kids. So much has happened in those 11 months. Mostly, a monumental shift.

A significant shift in life and I’m now in a new season. My kids grew up. Two are adults now, one is on her way.  My nest isn’t exactly empty but it is definitely quieter.

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In this season, I’m struggling to find my voice and to put into words my journey because, for so long, my voice and my journey centered around my offspring, my 3 Es. My life was so wrapped in and around theirs that the snippets that I freely shared were as much my stories as theirs. It was all part of being a mom in the crazy and the chaos of a homeschooling family of five.

 

The shift happened long before I recognized it for what it was but I know for a fact that on a cool May morning, three days after her high school graduation party, we huddled together to pray with our girl before she drove herself four hours south for the summer, I knew I was standing on the other side of the shift.

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Four evenings later,  when I sat on a bench seat in the front row to watch my son pledge his life to the one who holds his heart, there was no question that I was on the other side of this shift in parenting.

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Honestly, this season is amazing. It is rich and full and fun. I spent this morning with my newest daughter and my youngest daughter driving through torrential downpours and bargain shopping for groceries with laughter and rich conversation.  And, this evening, enjoying a busy kitchen as my girls made homemade tortillas for tacos.

In this season, though, I have struggled with finding words because the stories I live are no longer my own to tell.  I have a front row seat to watch the stories God is writing with each of my kids.

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I am now mom to 3 Es and an L and that sweet L is the one who encouraged me to come back to this little corner of the web. She’s a writer and a blogger herself and she understands my need for words and for stories. She gently reminded me that I do have things to share. I have my version which is how all of this plays out from my vantage point… from the view of a mom and mom-in-law.

 

So, in this new shift of life and in this new season, here I am. In just over 24 hours, we will help settle the next one into college life and a dormitory and this fall I will travel all over to chase my favorite volleyball player. There will be late night phone calls and deep laughter around my table. There will also be quiet days and lonely moments and all of it is my story, just shifted.

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working-from-home isn’t all rainbows… 3 things to consider

For some of us, working from home sounds wonderful. What could be better than setting your own hours, working in a tee shirt and jeans, and avoiding morning rush hour?

I’m a big work-from-home fan. I love the opportunities it has afforded me and my family. I love that I can wear my jeans to work and I love slow mornings. Sounds great, huh? I think so. However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

If you are thinking of working from home, here are three things to consider:

  1. Working from home is still work. In a perfect world, we could all do what we want to do with our time and still have the income we desire in our bank accounts. Unfortunately, for most of us, this utopia doesn’t exist. While working from home look can look as different as the women doing it, it still starts with the word-work.
  2.  Working from home still requires time sacrifice. Just as you trade your time for money when you go to the office (or the retail store or the factory) you are trading your time at home for money. One of the joys of working from home is that often you can choose which hours of your day you will trade for income. Even still, it’s still a trade.
  3. Working from home often means trying again and again. You might submit a bid, apply for a position, meet potential clients only to find out that either you aren’t right for the job or the job isn’t right for you. It’s okay. You win some, you lose some, and you learn along the way. Thankfully, you get to try again tomorrow.

It’s not all rainbows. It’s not easy. It is work.

And, it can be good.

Is it for you?

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working from home: 3 keys to the journey

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It seems like every single day I field questions like:

How do you work from home?

Is it legit?

Do you think I could do it too?

Some people are happy going to work every day. They enjoy working away from home in an office, store, or cubicle. Though I’m not one of them, I am thrilled that they have found their place in this life.

The rest of us are aching for a different journey. We want a path that gives us the freedom to set our own hours, to be our own boss, and to work from anywhere that isn’t an office, store, or cubicle. We just don’t know how to get there.

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Recently, I’ve talked to several friends who are successfully working from home. I’ve asked them about their journey, how they came to do what they currently do, and how they got started.

Amazingly, although they have different businesses and careers, they all gave me almost the same answers.

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3 keys to the journey:

1) It takes FAITH. A successful journey takes faith in a God bigger than you can ever imagine and faith in the gifts and abilities that He has gifted you.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.          Hebrews 11:1 (nlt)

Faith becomes the compass that directs every path journeyed.

2) It takes a VISION.  Before you begin any journey, you need a vision. Make goals and write them down. Keep them in front of you. Goals keep you focused.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.  Proverbs 29:18 (kjv)

Vision becomes True North on your compass.

3) It takes COURAGE. Every journey presents opportunities to give up and quit your dream. It takes courage to stay the course when the days are long and hard.

Be strong and courageous!  Joshua 1:6 (nlt)

Courage keeps the compass in front of you.

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A successful journey isn’t an easy one but successful people don’t choose the easy path, they choose the path that’s worth it.

And, they journey with faith, vision, and courage.

the joy of working from home

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This is my view this week.

My youngest and I ran away to the lake again. The joy in running away is we don’t have a plan or a schedule. We don’t have a set time to arrive and we don’t always know how long we will be here. My mom graciously lets us hang out until we get water logged and sunburned and ready to go home. There’s food in the fridge and a washer when we run out of clean clothes. It’s a really good gig!

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As they were walking out the door to go to town to look for craft supplies for Ellen, my Mom said, “I’m sorry you have to work or you could go with us!”

To which I replied, “I’m so glad to be working from here!”

This is the joy of working from home.

I can work from anywhere.

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Ok… maybe not anywhere because who wants to work while kayaking?

The joy of working from home means I simply need my phone, my computer, and a wifi connection. I can work  while my girl spends time with her grandma, fishes, kayaks, paddleboards, and binge watches Fixer Upper.

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After spending my time away from home to earn an income, I realized I can’t get that time behind a desk back.

Life is short. We all get a certain number of days and I’m learning to put a high price on my time. I’m learning to run away, to chase sunsets, and to spend time face to face with my friends and family.

In doing so, I’ve discovered the hidden joy of working from anywhere… I get to be with those I love the most.

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