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Here we go. I am taking the challenge. 31 Days to Write. Pick a topic, write about it each day for 31 days. Voila!

The Nester over at Nesting Place invited writers to blog about one topic for 31 days. So, For 31 Days I will show the shoes of this single mamma raising 3 amazing and energetic kids and surviving Suburbia. It is not too planned and I imagine will include some light and funny, some deep and real.

Join me every day in October for 31 Days in My Shoes.

 


 

 

Day 31 - Reflections on 31 Days

I have loved writing my single mom life for 31 days. I should do this post tomorrow, but tomorrow is halloween and I will post one last fun pic. Here are a few observations….

Observation #1: I should have called it 31 days of my toes. It is still so warm in Southern California that each pick has my toes.

Observation #2: No situation is as depressing as it seems when you have to figure out how to type it up for a blog post and try to give it meaning. To others and yourself.

Observation #3: It is hard to be totally raw and I was surprised at how easy it was to gloss over many of the tough things. I will need to go back and elaborate on some of my posts to share more accurately the raw and real.

Observation #4: I was a little crazy with the feet pictures. Most specifically at Beth Moore and the Airport. 🙂 People must have thought I was crazy.

Observation #5: We are a really, really busy family who does a lot of cool things in October.

Overall, It was so healthy for me to look at my days and see all the ways that God’s hand covers our family. There were fun days and then there were rough days. I realized that my rough days are always filled with some joy. I can choose to look at only the hard parts, but that would be dishonest. It is a lie to label my day without looking at the positive too. Both are evident. Both are worthy of acknowledgement and process. And through it all my kids and I….

 …are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes for the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Still processing all of this,

 

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Day 30 - Halloween

Holidays are hard. Many families have two to share the load of the common place of the day and the excitement of day. Halloween for example means that I have to coordinate buying the pumpkins, overseeing the carving, cleaning up the carving roasting the seeds….you get the idea. One great thing after another that is hard to give up. Thanks to a sweet friend, I am happy to say that, Halloween is one holiday that I have finally dialed in. A few years ago she started inviting me to her Halloween party and it has changed our holiday. We gather in the afternoon and all carve our pumpkins together, in community. There are tons of parents to supervise and clean up and manage our brood. She orders pizza and the kids play. At 6 we head out and trick-o-treat all together. Again, tons of parents to manage and coral all our kids. I know they do it for fun, but it ministers to me so greatly. It meets a need for our family in a special and unique way.

Until next year,

 

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Day 29 - Piano

Today is piano day. My whole life I had to take piano. I hated it, but today I can read music. I am so thankful to my parents for suffering through the tears and whining and making me continue. Now they are blessing my kids with piano lessons. We love Ms Debbie and the way she teaches and encourages.

LaLaLaLa,

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Day 28 - Walking Together

Today I went to my small group of single moms. We get together to encourage one another and study God’s word. It is so nice to spend this short time with women who live my experience daily. I am so blessed by their understanding and wisdom.

On the journey together,

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Day 27 - Horses

This picture is perfect. It’s not my feet, but the feet of Hershey the horse, my little cowgirl, and my baby who never wears shoes.

Enjoying today,

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Day 26 - Sundays Suck

The hardest day of the week for me is Sunday. Spoiler alert, this post is a downer. I keep trying to make Sunday better, but it is a hard day and I’m gonna be real about it. Sunday is the day when families go to church together and celebrate a family afternoon and a big dinner. Dad is home from work, mom is relaxing and organizing for the week ahead and kids are together. While I realize that not every family has a Norman Rockwell Sunday, it is especially hard for this single mom. First, it means getting all my kids up and ready in “Sunday Best” and to church ON TIME by myself. I struggle to get my kids to their sunday classes and then I sit in church by myself. I am surrounded by couples holding hands and sharing bibles. After church I quickly step out to get my kids while other women chat away and their husbands pick up the kids. After church we come home. To a quiet usually messy house showing the chaos of the morning. In Suberbia Sunday is family day and it is hard.

 

Forging ahead,

 

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Day 25 - Surprise Beach Day

Today was a surprise day. An impromptu trip to my parents led to an impromptu drive up the coast with just my dad and my daughter. I am blessed to live an hour drive from my parents who just happen to live at the beach. Our drive ended in Malibu at a lovely restaurant on the water. It was such a treat to spend the day with my dad and my girl enjoying a gorgeous Southern California fall day.

Cherishing Special Times,

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Day 24 - Christmas

Yep, Christmas. Well, for today anyway. My favorite, favorite store in all the world posted an invitation to join them in decorating for the holidays. This store has amazing window displays each season and some friends and I went scissors in hand to help. Can’t wait to see the final store decor next month and know I got to help. I love finding free ways to do fun artsy stuff.

Loving Anthropologie,

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Day 23 - Pumpkin Patch

Family trip to the pumpkin patch. Complete with family photo. See my feet above. Family photos used to be hard for me, but now 1 adult and 3 kids is our norm. I love seeing their faces next to mine. We are family.

Loving Family,

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Day 22 - BSF

I can not say enough about Bible Study Fellowship. I had heard about it for years. I love that everyone doing BSF all over the world is studying the same thing. At a conference last year I met women from all over that were discussing the scripture that BSF was looking at and I wanted in. My group studies God’s word and I have gotten to know some amazing and diverse women in the process. It has also been a good discipline to get me in God’s word most days.

Loving BSF,

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Day 21 - Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime has saved my life. I receive all of my bulky grocery items, paper towels, toilet paper, etc in a big box once a month. I also order all birthday presents and some household supplies. And occasionally some basic clothes, and….and… you get the picture. Amazon Prime comes right to my door and if I need to return I just go online and schedule a pick up. So easy and it fits into my busy schedule and life. I have to search a little bit for the best prices and use the subscribe and save program to get 20% off. Makes trips to the store with 3 kids manageable.

Shopping from home,

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Day 20 - Floors

I saw the most amazing floors in San Francisco. Here is one just for fun.

Love SF Architecture and Design,

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Day 19 - 13.1

13.1  I did it. I finished a half-marathon.

Dreams.  Broken dreams, shattered dreams, the death of dreams. These have been my close companions. Today, I have fulfilled a dream.  I almost can not type. There is so much emotion tied up in todays dream. So much. So much pain, so much joy. I’m not un-athletic. I am up for a fun hike or bike ride around town, but I am not a runner and I do not seek out physical activity. I am not one to push myself phyisically when the same end can be accomplished at a sweatless stroll. But years ago I got it in my head that if I was strong and healthy emotiionally I could run. 6 long years ago.  Honestly, when I said it it was as likely that I would climb mt everest. My kids were 9 months, 2 and 4 and I was suddenly an only parent. Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew I would never actually do it.  Each year the sign ups came for this race in SF that ends with a tiffany necklace. I thought for sure if I was going to run this would be it.

When I actually signed up this year I was a little shocked. The funny thing was how casual my sign up was. Sitting poolside with a friend, she mentioned that she was gonna sign up. I had 24 hours to commit. And I committted. 6 months out I wondered if I would actually make it as I went on an occasional walk or swim. Then the horrible news about “the sweep”. I mentioned it in my earlier post. The idea of getting picked up for running to slow motivated me to train. And train I did. Enlisting the help...Read More »


Day 18 - Trolley Cars and Big Shoes

Can’t believe it, but I am in San Francisco. I haven’t been here since before kids. But here I am on a girls weekend preparing to run a half marathon. Traveling changes when you leave pieces of your heart behind as you adventure away. While I had a blast in the 7 story Nike store all I could do was take pictures of everything to send to my 10 year old boy. I love having a 10 year old boy to think about while on vacation. I love my 3 sweet babies and seeing all the things they would enjoy here, like giant feet at the Nike store.

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Day 17 - Flight

Yep, these are my shoes. Happens rarely, but today I fly. I will run my first ever half marathon in San Francisco. I have become such a running nut that I am actually carrying my shoes on just in case my luggage gets lost. Can’t run without this pair!! More to come after the weekend.

At 10,000 Feet,

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Day 16 - Digging

I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves and the great expanse of deep blue stretching as far as the eye can see.

Last summer my littlest and I were digging a hole at the beach. We dug and dug and then woosh a wave came and covered our hole filling it with sand. We dug again. Again a wave. Then my son had the idea to build a wall to stop the waves. Great! But the mighty ocean took down his wall and his hole. Finally, we moved up shore a bit and started anew.

For the first several years of my single mom-hood life felt much like that day at the beach. I’d work on my hole until something would come fill it up. I’d find a new plan a new wall and again, life would thwart my plans.

Working outside of the home and scheduling was my biggest hole. I was coordinating dropping off covering child care expenses, etc. etc.

Finally, I “moved up shore a bit and started anew”. Now I work from home and it is an amazing blessing. I can throw in a load of laundry between emails and client calls. It is not perfect. Working for yourself makes budgeting difficult and challenges my self esteem daily. (but that is for another post). God has graciously brought new clients every time my plate looks empty. He is provider, caretaker and boss.

Working away,

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Day 15 - I'm Gonna Be An AUNTIE!!

 

I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend, worker, and now…..I am going to be an Auntie. My sister announced to the world today that she is having a baby. They decided to announce it using shoes!!!!  I love it. So today “in my shoes” has new little  shoes.  Enough said.

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Day 14 - The Sweep

I am not a runner. Truly, I can barely go a mile run/walking. So the last few months have thrown me for a loop and I have really surprised myself.

When  I was first single I was intrigued by a race in San Francisco. At the finish line of the Nike Women’s half-marathon you are greeted by firemen in a tuxedos holding Tiffany & Co boxes with your winners necklace. What?!  Awesome!! I am not sure it still works the exact same way, but the idea captivated me and each year I consider running. This year is my year. I am signed up and I am committed. I started training figuring I could eventually make the end of the race. And then last month I learned a terrible phrase…

“You must BEAT THE SWEEP”

If you run you know what this means. Basically if you are too slow they come and pick you up in a van and drive you to the end!!!!

Noooooooo. I do not want to do all this training and then miss out on the prize. It was more than I could bear, so beefed up my training and today was my last long run before the race. There are so many spiritual parallels to all this training and preserving and ways God is working through this and I am sure I will share more. But for today, I am focusing on the sweep.

It is a funny thing to focus on failing. Failing in this case being picked up and unable to finish. I have geared my training based on the sweep time. It has given me motivation to get out there and run and cross train. But it has kept me looking backward too. I keep saying I think I will make it. A friend texted this week, “There is no think. You are going to...Read More »


Day 13 - Confessions of Re-Entry

Photo: My Welcome Mat

 

We have all seen the astronaut movies. You know the ones, man up in space, part malfunction, coffee drinking Huston ground crew scrabbling for solutions to bring the ship home. Then it happens they fix the problem, tighten the screw and the ship heads home.

But it’s NEVER over here. Now the ship must re-enter the atmosphere. They always loose radio contact. With bated breath (had to look up the spelling) we wait. Will they make it. The ship gets hot, fiery red, as it sears through the barrier from weightlessness to gravity and then….plummets to the sea below. Hurray! Right? But seriously, that was a rough ride.

I gotta be real here. My last post have been pretty great. Traveling to the beach, getting away, enjoying Beth Moore and re-living my conference last year. I am living it up. But man, coming back to my life after that short time away was, well….,  shocking.

As I opened my garage door I can hear the space theme music playing in the back ground “dum dum da dum dum”. And there it is. The pile of stuff to go to good will, the bikes half-parked, my storage stuffed clumsily around the edges. I walked into my kitchen and praise Jesus the sitter had cleaned the dishes. Oh my sweet house. Mostly clean, but the clothes I left on the floor were still right there. The trash and the recycling happily awaiting my return to be whisked away to the curb. My kids, my sweet kids, whom I missed so much, peppered me with kisses and questions and then right went right back into the ebb and flow of bliss and sibling rivalry. In the blink of an eye all of the responsibilities that fall squarly on me were right back on my shoulders.

Re-entry is hard. Whether a night away or...Read More »


Day 12 - Captivating 2013

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It is a rarity to actually get away. I have the opportunity about once a year around fall to be gone for a weekend. Last year I was at the Captivating Retreat in Colorado. I traveled with a good friend and had an amazing time away. I posted this when I got back and thought I would repeat it again here. If you look close you can see my shoes. 🙂


 

My hands shook as I stepped out onto the ledge. I looked down through the grate to the ground a hundred feet below….Why am I doing this?…. I clipped in with harnesses fit tight around my legs and shoulders…. Again, why am I doing this?…. I stopped a moment, turned to the young guy holding the lever and begged him to confirm that I was indeed hooked in. He assured me and the floor began to slowly drop. There I was hanging. Suspended far above the canyon. 3-2-1 the latch released and I plummeted.  It felt like a lifetime before the rope caught and I swung out over the ravine. As I swung I shook, scared I would still fall even as the rope held taught. Once the arc of the swing decreased, my body started to relax and I settled into the joy of soaring hundreds of feet above the ground. Knowing I had faced my fear and jumped!

 

For whatever reason I felt compelled to have a physical representation of the emotional and spiritual cliff jumping I have been doing over the last few years. Larry Crab calls it jumping off the cliff of safety into the abyss of rejection and trusting that the “rope” of God will hold you tight before you hit the ground.

 

It was a funny thing to actually jump....Read More »


Day 11 - Beth Moore

Wow, Beth Moore live with my sister.

When my sister and I were little my mom decided to stop our regular piano lessons and teach us herself. She says we asked for it, but…. For some reason it was much easier for me to listen to and hear criticism from someone other than my mother and I was soon back at the piano studio. I am so thankful for the years my mom made me take piano and the general understanding of music, tone and notes.

Beth Moore said many amazing things this weekend, but what stuck out most was…

Don’t bang on Middle C.

She was talking about harmony amongst believers. About our uniqueness in Christ. Her point was that if we are all banging middle C it will never sound as beautiful as a chord – several notes, each doing their thing, playing toward the same goal. It was an encouragement to agree on the end goal while still brining our own individual “me-ness” to each situation. I loved it. I am still processing it. I don’t need to look like everyone else, every other mother, friend or working. I am me. Playing my note!

What’s your note?

Processing on the journey,

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Day 10 - Lunch

 

Met a friend for lunch overlooking the water today on my way to Beth Moore. There are no words. The beach is just beautiful.

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Day 9 - City Palms

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Our small town takes some things very seriously. After historic preservation, I think trees are next. Our neighbor cut down a dead city tree with the intent of replacing it with the exact kind and with in 30 min citizens patrol was on our street taking pictures and calling the authorities.

Having said that, you are expected to trim, water, and care for any city tree that sits on edge of your property.

The first month I was on my own with the kids I was beyond broke. Our account started the month with $10 dollars. Seriously. Sure enough the iconic city palm in our SoCal front yard was in desperate need of a trim. If you are not familiar with palms they form bushels of pods that get heavier and heavier until they fall on your car or an unsuspecting passerby. Yikes. You have to trim them or they are actually dangerous. Knowing this tree guys circle the neighborhoods a couple times a year offering their services for a “small” fee of course. So I did it. I committed to the outrageous several hundred dollars and signed up for the following Tuesday. I waited all morning for the trimmers to arrive. Then all afternoon. Then into the evening. Nothing. Urgh.

I woke up the next morning to the sound of chain saws. The city was trimming all the palms on our street free of charge

I was in tears as I felt the tangible love of MY Savior covering every detail of my newly ravished life. He is so good. He cares so much. I could write a book with the stories of God’s provision, but the Palm will always remain my favorite. So simple so perfect.

I woke up this week to that sound again. 5 years later they are trimming the...Read More »


Day 8 - Multi-tasking

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Swimming laps while tanning. Cross-trainging in SoCal in October.

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Day 7 - Dubai

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A bazillion years ago when I graduated college I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. Political Science and Economics will only get you so far. So, I took a job in public relations because I love people. I soon discovered that I hated PR. Miserable in my job I attended a young adults retreat with my church. There I met a girl a few years ahead of me in her career who was an interior designer. After talking to her I was inspired to pursue the dream of my heart and started training in design. Soon after I joined her company and was working on boutique hotels all over the nation.

It’s funny how one person or one retreat or one encounter can shift the path of your life. Over the years she has become one of my closest friends. She has seen me through the highest heights and cried along with me through the lowest lows.

She now resides in Dubai and travels the world making spaces beautiful, but she is home this week and today we got to hang out. Nothing major, shopping and lunch and some good old fashion face-to-face time. The time that Facebook and Instagram just can’t duplicate.

Feeling blessed tonight to have good friends near and far and for the joy of walking the journey with them.

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Day 6 - Stolen Moments

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Mommy dates are hard to come by.  Once a month my Chic Fashionista has sewing class. We carpool with another family and this day the other mom agreed to watch the boys while I dropped off the girls. A 10 minute round-trip. As I dropped my girl I could tell she needed, well…something. I quickly told the teacher she would be right back and we headed around the corner for a large tea and a shaded bench. I almost missed this moment. But I didn’t. 😉

Every so often God works some surprise one-on-one time for me. A doctors waiting room, a mix up in scheduling, a playdate for the others….. stolen moments before sewing class.

Watching for the moments,

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Day 5 - Believe Walk

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“I don’t want to get up.  I am not going. I want to do the Beautiful Run instead.” I had to laugh. These words spilled out of the mouth of my sweet baby who DOES NOT LIKE NEW THINGS. Today is the Believe Walk. Supporting survivors and remembering those affected by breast cancer. My littlest has been so excited to do it. To honor those we know. He slept last night in his pink head band and his clothes are laid out. But this morning the familiarity of last years Beautiful Run seems acceptable and this years Believe Walk overwhelming. I brace myself for the morning and I forget to pray. Forget to ask the God of the universe to step in. Urgh, why do I forget.

Meeting up with friends at the starting line calms the morning and we are off. Soon this little guy is stopping at every water stop to chat, stopping to listen to the Mariachi Band, the Harpist, the Barber Shop Quartet. (Yep it was an eclectic day in our small town) He stops to listen because he takes everything in and he truly cares to hear and see what people are offering of themselves. His excitement is intoxicating and he encourages everyone he meets.

My oldest is focused on the prize. He takes off and is finished before I am half way. He has mapped his time, hit a PR and is enjoying visiting with friends at the finish.

These two are so different in the way they take in life. Experience life. My first instinct is frustration that we all can’t do it the same. And then joy as I realize how intricately we are each made. As a mamma my judgmental, frustrated edges get daily chipped away as I sit back and enjoy the moment I...Read More »


Day 4 - Game Day

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Saturday is GAME DAY. From the time my littlest was 5 we have spent every Saturday out on the field. Soccer, Baseball, Football, Cheer we love it all.  There is something special about sportsmanship and team mates. I love the strong male leadership my kids get on and off the field. I love the encouragement my kids get and the cheers that stick with them through a long week. More than anything it is something special to look forward too every weekend. There have been so many ups and downs in our lives the last few years but one thing has stayed the same. Every Saturday my three and I know where we will be. Saturday is GAME DAY.

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Day 3 - It's Fun To Stay At The…..

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Stealing a quick workout. Gym childcare is a single moms excercise life-saver. I dropped my olders at practice and headed straight to the gym. A quick stop to put my little guy in Kids Club and I was able to get in a good swim before racing back  to pick up the other two.

For a season I got little to no exercise. Finding time to workout is tough. The preferred times are, of course, early  morning or later evening. Both are no good with kids in tow. Enter gym childcare. Sadly, my young kids did not want to go and I had to resort to exercise videos before bed. Not surprisingly, exhaustion soon won out over Jillian Michaels.

In this season all 3 are in school and God has graciously provided a few moms who want to walk after morning drop off. (They walk faster than I can run!!) That coupled with a few mandatory trips to Kids Club I am able stay healthy.

I am struck by God’s ability to always find a way. Even for the little things.

How do you squeeze in a workout?

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Day 2 - Waking Up To Mess

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Yep, those are my slippers and yep, those are my dishes. I read a post once about how as moms we can only choose two of the following…

1. Clean House

2. Sanity

3. Happy Kids.

This last week a CLEAN HOUSE has had to go. At the end of the day I am often too tired to “re-set” the house, as my friend puts it.  So this am before getting the kids off to school and lunches made I need to clean. Yuck.

As I looked at my picture again, my heart filled with joy. Those dishes didn’t just appear. They came from living life and making memories. The bowls from the cookies my little guy was dying to make with his mamma. He finished his homework and got chores done so we could cook. He usually prefers to be the sous chef, but last night that title was passed to me and he lead the charge.

Those pans…well they are the remnant from a improptu  second dinner after football and cheer practice. A full breakfast with eggs and sausage and lively conversation.

Waking up to my messy kitchen was waking up to a reminder of all the joy that transpired the night before.

What messes in your life point to the joy your family is sharing?

Embrace the joy as you clean.

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Day 1 - Taking the Challenge

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Here we go. I am taking the challenge. 31 Days to Write. Pick a topic, write about it each day for 31 days. Voila! To see all the 31 topics check out  31 Days to Write.

A few years ago I stumbled upon 31 Days in October. The Nester over at Nesting Place gathered a group of bloggers to write about one topic for 31 days. I thought it was a cool idea, but never thought of myself as a writer. How life changes. Now I love to write,  to share to muse, to speak in my own personal space.

So, For 31 Days I will show the shoes of this single mamma raising 3 amazing and energetic kids and surviving Suburbia. It is not too planned out and I imagine will include some light and funny, some deep and real. Join me every day in October for 31 Days in My Shoes.

...Read More »

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