Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sawyer's apple

Ohh my. It's been a while.  
It's naptime, it's quiet, and the "Hawthorne hurricane" that is my house at this moment will have to wait.  
The funny thing is that this story I am about to tell did not happen today, or yesterday. It happened about a month ago. August 15th to be exact. I knew in that moment that I needed to write about it. But wasn't exactly sure what.
I scratched some notes down about it in my prayer notebook, dated it, and well...went on with my life. More likely, got distracted with the next thing on my to-do list, was needed by one of the little humans I'm raising, and the thought of the incident was long gone. Gone like a freight-train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the civil war.. you get the picture. No need for all the Montgomery Gentry lyrics. lol. I tend to break out in song over here all the time, my poor kids.
Anyways.. so today I found my note.
Sawyer, my 4 year old, had just woke up from his nap. He asked for a snack, and then decided he actually wanted to get it himself.
An apple.
"Sawyer, do you want me to help you cut that apple?" I asked.
"No mom, I'm going to do it myself," he politely responded.
I saw him fumble into the drawer for his "kid knife," took out a plate and proceeded to sit down at the little white table and attempt to cut up his apple.
"Are you sure you don't want help bud?" I asked again.
"Nope, I've got it Mom!"
I watched from the couch as he started cutting the apple on one side and close to his fingers. He actually had the knife flipped upside down so the "sharp side" was not even on the skin of the apple.
By force he got a little cut into the apple with the blunt side of the knife, but that was about it.
Frustrated, he turned the apple the other way and proceeded to try again in the other direction.
He had the right tool.
Unsuccessful, he finally looked up to me for instruction.
"Ok mom, I guess I do need some help," he sighed.
I went over and his little attempts at cutting into the apple were in the shape of a cross.
I smiled.  
It's funny how the Lord speaks to me. Through braiding my daughter's hair, or the way my son cuts apples. But I felt the Lord speaking to me in that moment.
Oh little Sawyer, my son, I am just like you.
I get so excited to do things in this life. I feel "big enough" to tackle them sometimes. Those that know me in real life, well you know if I'm in, I'm all in. There isn't much in between.
A go-getter I guess you could say.
Sometimes I get so excited and even though I feel like I have all the tools to get the job done, I get frustrated and my go-to is well.. I get overwhelmed.
The funny thing is that it always brings me right back to the cross.
To my knees.
To repenting.
I realize I've failed to ask for instruction from the author of this life.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5
God tells us to ask for wisdom and it will be given freely.
It's so simple really.
But at times, so hard.
Oh pride. It seems as though you and I have met yet again.
I have the Word - the right tool. It's asking for the wisdom to understand and the ability to apply these truths in my own life with strength other than my own that I constantly have to remind myself. 
I don't have to do this journey through life and handle all the things that God has called me to in my own strength.
This is so comforting.. yet, like a small child, I often forget.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
I have a helper.
I just need ask.
I remember as I sat their patiently watching Sawyer attempt to cut the apple and fail, I was not upset. I watched as he got more frustrated. I was there, just waiting for him to ask me for help.
Isn't that how our Father sees us?
Patient. Waiting. Ready and willing to help.
My friends, I'm praying today as I close out this post, and my oldest is now ready for me to help her make her Rainbow Loom bracelet, that today you cast your burdens on Him.
Let the Lord guide you.
Let Him instruct you.
Give Him your day.
The heavy lifting has already been done for us.
His yoke is light.
The next time we find ourselves forcefully trying to cut into our own "apples" I pray that we will remember this, stop, and ask our greatest Helper for instruction.
The answer might be as simple as turning over that knife.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dear Mayhem's Mom -- I get it.

Dear Mayhem's Mom, 

I can't remember where I read it first. I had so many people send me the link to the article about "the mother who makes paper dresses with her 4 year old fashion guru," that I lost track. 

As many close to me have known, my now 5 year old daughter has also expressed a similar love for fashion at a very young age. I believe she began dressing herself around the age of 2 1/2 and I quickly gave up the battle of matching outfits, and let her little mind create whatever she wanted to wear from then on. Now she spends her free time drawing outfits hoping the designers will create someday. I don't have this gene, so I'm not sure where she gets it. lol. 

I showed her the article and all the photos of the dresses you and Mayhem created. Her eyes lit up in the most glorious way and in an instant she was off to draw the first dress she wanted us to make. 

We made our first paper dress together that day. 

But I got more than just an idea for an outlet for my daughter's creativity from reading that article. 

I sit here today overwhelmed with how much I get it. 

You have capitalized on a precious time period in your daughter's life that will never be forgotten. You found a way to capture these sweet, innocent moments where deciding on her next dress is the biggest decision she has to make. 

As a mommy of 3 little ones, the days are long, but the years are short and soon enough the days of paper dress making will be behind us. Mayhem will grow, and you will one day tape together your last paper dress, but this memory that you have made will never ever fade. 

You helped your child's creativity blossom. 

You stepped into her world and brought it to life. 

You selflessly took time from your day and spent it by her side creating memories that truly will last a lifetime. 

A mother that didn't begin something for her own gain, but a mother that chose to get on the floor with her baby and spend the time with her, someone noticed and something big came of it. 

The love you have shown your child by your dedication and presence is what I saw. 

This is why I immediately went to follow you on Instagram and overloaded your website with clicks. 

I saw something that was truly special, and I know I'm not alone. 

An innocent and creative outlet for you and your daughter. 

Yes, your dresses are amazing, but that was just the outcome of a love that could be felt by the hundreds of thousands of people that saw that post. 

We could feel the love, the real love that would make a mom spend countless hours putting together dresses to be worn for 5 minutes a day. 

That's the beauty. 

This world LONGS to see love like this. 

And I'm just a mom touched by your story. 

I get it. 

Beauty in the simplest way. 

Time spent on your little one's passion. 

Selfless. Fun. Love. 

I pray you keep creating, keep spending those moments with her on the floor during the craziness that has now become your life. 

I know I'm not alone when I say I'm inspired. 

Inspired to find my own outlet with each of my kids as I watch them grow and see their own interests unfold. 

Mayhem's Mom, thank you. 

I get it. 



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Messy Braid.

Last night I was praying and I felt like the word "distracted" was being highlighted in my mind.
It wasn't "distracted" in the sense that my mind kept wandering during my prayer time, but it was the word "distracted" in the past tense form.
I've been "distracted" is what came to mind.
I texted a friend far too late, asking her for some input on this word in scripture, talked to my husband about it, and finally crashed for the night still pondering what exactly the Lord was trying to tell me.
This morning I woke up with the word still on my mind.
 I was getting my crew ready to leave the house and it was Addyson's turn to come to the bathroom and stand on her little pink step stool for me to do her hair.
I chose a single fishtail braid today.
Gathering the strands of her long hair, I began to move my hands from side to side beginning the braid. In about two seconds her little head jetted to the left yelling for Sawyer.
"Be still Addy, be still," I said gently.
She sat still for another few strands and then her little head jetted to the right reaching for something. I clung to the braid and reminded her that I was trying to make this braid look pretty, and she needed to hold still in order for me to do so.
"I know mom, I know," she sighed.
It was in that very instant that I felt the Lord made that word "distracted" come to life.
I looked at her hair and this braid I was creating and it made me think of our Creator who holds every strand of our life in his hands. He has a magnificent design in place. He's the grand weaver. But how often I am like my 5 year old daughter, constantly turning from side to side becoming distracted with everyday life.
The braid gets messy.
The Lord is constantly pressing on my heart to be still. In the quiet is when I can truly hear Him.
“Be still, and know that I am God."
 Psalm 46:10
We make excuses.
I know I do.
Now the holidays are upon us, and it's one of the most distracting times of the year. The shopping lists are a mile long, there aren't enough weekends to get everything done.
This time of year is when we need to grab hold of these truths and not let go.
"Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:10
Do our best to not let a day go by without our daily bread.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Becoming distracted is what messes up the perfect braid, but the most amazing part is that as soon as I return to that place of resting my focus on the most important thing, I can see the magnificent braid start to take shape once again.
He does have a plan.
We don't know the complete path the Lord has for us, but we can rest in the promise that He knows the plans He has for us and it is not for destruction. He promises us that He works ALL THINGS for good for those that love him! ALL THINGS! Not some things, ALL THINGS.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
We aren't promised to escape suffering, but we can rest in these truths and realize that being still and leaning on the Lord is truly what is going to make this messy braid that is our lives look beautiful in the end.
Sometimes I feel like we almost become content with the messy braid. Not realizing what God truly has in store for us.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis
I love this quote by C.S. Lewis. We get distracted and settle for mud pies all the time.
I am now closing out today and thanking God. Thanking Him for gently reminding me of my own tendency to become easily distracted.
My heart is eager to do His will, but that whole "being human" part definitely gets in the way sometimes.
I'm praying that in this busy season where being distracted is the social norm, that we will take the time to be still and realign as often as we can.
It's only to make the braid more beautiful.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'm Taking Questions..

So many of you may know, and many of you may not know, that I started homeschooling my crew this year. 

Addyson is 5 and in Kindergarten.
Sawyer is 3 1/2 and in Pre-school.
Capri is 15 months. 

The story on how this came about is for another post. Not one that I am trying to get out in a few quiet moments at naptime. 

I'm posting this because I have been humbled by the fact that I've had a lot of people contact me since starting homeschooling with questions about how it's going, what curriculum I use, what I'm doing for Sawyer, etc. I absolutely LOVE talking to people about it. I literally jump inside when I get a text about it!  BUT, I've been doing a bad job at getting back to everyone and actually emailing them info I promised. So I'm trying another route. Which brings me back to blogging! Ahhhh. I would love to post this information incase it might be helpful to many.  

But first off, I want you all to know a few things.. 

I am a ROOKIE. Did you notice the CAPS LOCK?!? This is VERY new to me, and I have SO much to learn! But I do best by jumping in, and figuring it out as I go, and so far, I am the one being blessed double by this experience. 

I also believe that what works for one family does not work for every family or even for every child! 

So of course, I will be posting what has been working for us, but please know that there are so many routes and ways to approach homeschooling and I definitely don't believe that my way is better than anyone else's or the ONLY way. 

 The Lord has been preparing and changing my heart for this season of life for two years. For several months now, I have taken a step back in regards to my little business I run part-time, Raving Tans. I'm now only working one evening a week in exchange for what used to be four. Although I was scared at first to do it, I know it has been what the Lord wanted for this season, and it is what is best for my family. 

So, I'm going to be doing posts as often as I can in regards to my homeschooling journey. Because I want my kids to someday look back at this and see where my heart was along this journey. And if it helps someone along the way, even more wonderful.

 This is just the very, very, beginning. And the posts will even be in a NEW blog that I will be announcing SOON! 

But if you have any questions for this ROOKIE, please comment below, text me, message me, whatever you wish! I kind of don't know where to start with a blog post in regards to everything we have been doing, so your questions will help direct me. 

Thank you all for your support and if you don't mind saying a little prayer for me as I'm taking this one day, and one year at a time, I could use all the prayers I can get! 

Love you all.. 


"Train a child up in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Domestication breakthrough.

Ok, I am deviating from my typical blog posts because I have recently had a domestication breakthrough... 6 1/2 years into marriage and 5 years into mommyhood.
I want to shout from the rooftops what has been working for me, so this was the best way to do so. lol.
Here's the gist..
Yup, you read that correct.
 I have found a solution to my never ending laundry crisis in the Hawthorne home.
I am not about to tell you that my solution is the only way, I'm just here to tell what has been working for this stay-at-home, part-time work at home, homeschooling, mamma of a 5, 3 and 1 year old.
I'm sure as the kids get older, different seasons, this method will have to change, but for now, I'm rocking it out!
I'm also here to tell you that I did not come up with this on my own.
My dear friend came over to play a few weeks ago, and when I went on my typical rant about the fact that I can never keep up on the laundry, she very simply told me that she doesn't really have that problem.
I gasped.
She as well is a momma of a 4, 3 and 1 year old.
She told me what she does, and I immediately set out to give it a whirl. I mean, we all know the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. lol.
Guess what.
It's been working.
So here goes!!
1. Only use ONE laundry basket for all of the family's clothes. I know what you are thinking... but I have SUCH a cute hamper in my baby's room!!! Use it for toys, stuffed animals, I don't care what. But DON'T use it for dirty laundry! lol! I'm telling you, having all the laundry in many different rooms contributes to the chaos. I have one small basket that I can carry downstairs to the laundry room and it is in our master bedroom walk-in closet.
2. Get rid of all laundry baskets that hold enough dirty clothes to keep you washing for an entire weekend and still not be caught up. Kelly, my sweet neighbor, if you are reading this, I actually felt guilty when I gave you my big baskets a few weeks ago.. wondering if I was contributing to your laundry crisis. LOL.
3. Keep 3 small baskets in your laundry room for sorting. I have a very small laundry room, so there is not enough space to have a sorting hamper in there. So that's where my three small baskets on top of the washer and dryer come in. One for light, one for dark, and one for special attention clothes! hehe.
These baskets are $3.99 each at Target. Get them! lol!
4. EVERY MORNING bring down the small basket from the closet and sort clothes into correct baskets. This takes all of 5 minutes. No excuses! lol.
5. As soon as a basket load is full, throw it in. I usually do this first thing in the morning. Following coffee of course. This happens quickly since the sorting baskets are small.
6. On average, I'm doing around two loads every other day it seems like. Of course, when you have newborns in the mix, this will probably be a daily thing with all the burp clothes, blankets.. etc. On the days in between I will rotate with bedding.
7. As soon as a load is done, fold it and put it away. I did this very scientific experiment a few months ago and calculated the time it took me to casually take out a load from the dryer, bring it upstairs, fold it, and put it away. I know some of you are not going to believe me, but it took me 7 minutes. Of course, I wasn't distracted by a newborn or being requested by a toddler, but my friends, if we have a 10 minute window we can do this!!! lol!
 8. Let your kids help. Addyson, my 5 year old, was fully capable of folding, sorting and organizing her clean clothes into her drawers! And on top of it, she was excited to help and felt accomplished!
That's it.
NOTE: If you are like me, you will be appalled at how many clothes you actually have. When all the laundry is caught up, I could barely close my kids' drawers.. and let's not even talk about my own closet.. So unnecessary! We ended up going through all the clothes and finding an awesome local organization that we could donate some of them to. Good Will is good... but there are other organizations that are GREAT! Some of them are helping parents that can't afford to clothe their babies.. and they are doing it for free...  
One of those in my area is called Solutions For Change.
 We have lots on our plates as busy moms and dads.
Hopefully this little laundry tip will help a few of you, and maybe some of you can comment with some solutions that have worked for you!
Raising kids is an amazing blessing...and a lot of work! 
Let's conquer this laundry crisis so we can move on to the more important things!
 I can't begin to explain the little bit of freedom I have experienced from this little method. Those baskets that were always haunting me are gone.
Yes, there will be days where things will surely get behind, but let me tell you, this is a breakthrough!!

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Galations 6:9

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Something is brewing..

So maybe this is a little bit of a rant and a little bit of trying to sort my thoughts out. We shall see.
This morning I decided to take my kids on a "nature walk" around our perfectly HOA kept up neighborhood.
Without fail, almost every person I happened to pass by on the walk did a double take, or simply said out loud, "wow, you have your hands full!"
This is nothing new to me.
Somewhere around the having two kids and being pregnant I gave up the frustration of stranger's comments about God's choice to bless me with three kids by 30.
Oh, and the fact that I'm 5'1" on a good day doesn't help. Some how, my small stature makes people think I'm "one of the kids." I can testify that my smile lines prove otherwise along with the gray hairs I cover up every 8 weeks. And I still need to get those darn glasses ordered. Did you know that after having three kids I now need glasses!? Anyways..
I've honestly learned to smile and agree, realizing that their comment is not intended to make fun, but that in most cases, they truly do not understand how I do it.
Today I got to thinking.
It would be awesome to have a planned out response to this never ending comment. Something along the lines of, yes, my hands are full, but that is part of what keeps me leaning on Jesus DAILY. I have 3 little lives that are in my hands to teach, love, and grow. That's a BIG responsibility if you ask me, and the most important one after being wife to my awesome hubby. Indeed my hands are full. But it is NOT in my strength that I get by. I take no credit. And a lot of days I fail. As I yell at my kids to stop yelling.. you know.. those kinds of things.
Then, who KNOWS the types of conversations I might get into just by going into any public place!
Almost makes me want to have another one.
My "almost" lies not in the idea of having more children to raise in our home, but the idea of actually bringing them into the world. Okay, that was just a weird way of saying that our family has been seriously talking about the idea of adoption for some time now.
I can't help but wonder what the comments would be like if I were to add on another child to the mix. {insert devious laugh.. hehehe}
I honestly feel like the Lord has shown me a lot of things in just the last 6 months. I told my cousin yesterday, "I feel like I have a new brain."
It's really weird.
I've felt the Lord move me.. wake me up.. I don't know how else to put it.
I read Kisses From Katie {Katie Davis}, Radical {David Platt}, and now Seven {Jen Hatmaker} all within the last few months. Oh and Feminine Appeal twice.
I'm not kidding you, they are game changers my friends.
When you start to get a glimpse of the WORLD VISION and our responsibility as Christians and as one of the wealthiest nations on the ol' globe today, IT CHANGES YOU.
"Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31
I have no idea what God has up his sleeve at this point with this "new brain" if you will.. but I can attest that the desire and the burden for change is getting bigger and bigger.
By change I mean, a radical change in the way we "do life."
A change in how we see those in need around us.
A change in how we spend every $1 that the Lord blesses us with.
A change in how we see God.
He's bigger than most of us give him credit for. Myself included.
Anyways, much more to come on this heart change going on, but my small window of time before 3 smiling faces greet me is about to run dry and I still haven't gotten out of my pj's or cleaned up the paint from the carpet from this morning's "rock painting" project.
Okay, that was quite a ramble.
But something is brewing.. that's all I can say.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Little friends are the best medicine

Last night I had the privilege of getting to spend several hours on the oncology floor of the San Diego Children's Hospital. I have never been on that floor before and even got a little lost trying to find it.
Our friend's daughter {4} was just diagnosed this week with stage 5 bilateral kidney cancer. 

Meaning the cancer is on both kidneys. 

Wilm's is the name of it.
Just wrapping my head around that sentence is still mind boggling.
Little Taelyn had just finished her first round of chemo when I arrived with my daughter, Addyson {5}, to visit. She was in good spirits when we got there, being pushed around by her daddy on the IV pole. According to one of my best friends that works on the oncology floor, these IV pole rides are a fairly typical thing around there. Addy jumped on with her and caught a ride as Taelyn directed where we would go next. 

Daddy listened to every hall his little girl wanted to take.
I tell you, walking passed rooms of all ages of children on the oncology floor will do something for your spirit.
I gasped as I walked by a room of dueling cribs. These 8 month old twins both had cancer. I'm sorry, but something about seeing cribs on the oncology floor... heart wrenching. The little faces peeking through the bars seemed happy as can be. 
On a search for popcorn, a stop at the gift shop, we eventually made our way to the activity room where the girls sat and played play doh, colored and painted Hello Kitty pictures chatting with each other about their favorite princesses, colors, and their mutual love for rainbows.
Watching Addy talk and hang out with Taelyn as if the IV pole attached and the tubes coming from her chest, the wheel chair in the room were completely normal was so amazing

Addyson saw that little girl as a little friend and nothing else. 

Addy never asked about all of those things, instead just acted like everything was totally normal.

I saw in that moment that little friends can be the best medicine.
One glace around the activity room and you could see who was new to the oncology floor simply by the fact that they still had their hair. A few adorable little ones with whisps of hair left made their way into the room with their parents in tow.
I learned a lot from those parents in the short time I was there.
Those little kids had 150% of their parent's attention.
I watched a daddy lay on the floor with his little balding beauty and play with the toys with her. Another mom with her little boy sat and colored and helped him paint. There was absolutely no distractions. There was no other place these parents would rather be than in that little place with those precious children.
The same went for Taelyn's mommy and daddy. Taelyn asked her mommy to paint with her and with no hesitation her mom sat down and chose her art project.
I mentioned to my friend I was with how humbling it was. How many times have I put sitting down to color or paint with my kids on hold while "other things" grasped for my attention.
We made it back to Taelyn's room as she was starting to feel some effects of the first round of chemo. I was still so amazed by her. This little fighter still wanted to put up the foot pedals and climb into her wheel chair all by herself. 
The girls watched Cinderella together as Taelyn bundled under blankets. Visitors were starting to head out and Taelyn was begging her big brother and for Addy to spend the night. It was so eye opening. When you are being constantly poked and prodded and hugged and kissed by adults I could see why she clung to the little ones.
We got ready to leave and promised Taelyn we would be back to play soon.
♥     ♥     ♥
In this week of finding out about Taelyn, it's already so evident of how much the Lord is using this situation in so many ways.
When you see a family gather around a little girl like this it's amazing how many other things in your life get not put, but thrown into perspective.
Just for our family alone God has shown us that some of the situations we were holding onto and stressing about truly were petty in the big picture. 
Sometimes it takes these little fighters for us "big kids" to find freedom in other areas.
The Lord has a plan.
Taelyn was fearfully and wonderfully made.
And I tell you what, Taelyn is one tough cookie.
To follow along with Taelyn's journey you can "like" her page on Facebook!
Click here.