When Life Won’t Slow Down

So, in the summer, life is crazy. Plans are spontaneous and vacations abound. Then the fall comes and I’m like, “Thank GOD! We can finally slow down, get back to a routine and enjoy autumn.” Yeah right. School starts and the season changes and, yes, we do have a routine, but is it really less chaotic than the summer? I don’t think so. I still have an older child to get to school on time, homeschool lesson plans to create, finalize, print off and teach, 4 different lunches to make, dinner to plan and prep, babies to change and get down for naps, and oh yes, A BLOG to write, promote and answer emails for!

And then, because it is fall, I’m crazily sorting, cleaning, tagging and boxing up outgrown clothes, shoes and toys to sell at my favorite children’s and maternity consignment sale, for which I also do the marketing and PR. AND, lucky me, hunting season is about to begin, which means I will not see my husband, and my children will not see their father every weekend for nearly the entire months of October and November. Which also equates to having fewer mommy-sanity breaks during these two months, either. (sigh)

So, suffice to to say that I am run very ragged right now and I apologize if I am not answering emails or posting amazing motherhood stories as frequently as I had hoped. I’m certain it will get better soon. Of course then the HOLIDAYS will be here. Who am I kidding? I seriously think I have this misconceived notion in my head that life will slow down, but honestly it never does! Oh well, it certainly keeps me on my toes and prevents boredom, though, doesn’t it?

All that being said, while I try to keep my head above the water at home and prepare for the AMAZING upcoming “adoption month” stories I have planned for you in November, I’d like to repost some of my favorite oldie, but goody mama stories. I hope you enjoy!

A Mentor, Teacher-Mother: Lana’s Story
You don’t have to have biological or legal children to be a mother. Sometimes, a woman can take on a mothering role in the lives of others as a mentor and teacher. Lana’s story is a beautiful example of this precious and important job.

A Life of Adventure:  Beth’s Story
Life can throw us all sorts of curve balls; teen pregnancy, single motherhood, blended families. Motherhood is an adventure and Beth’s story paints an exciting picture of how life can be full of adventure as well if we choose to never let circumstances get us down.

Grown to Mother: Kara’s Story
There are working mothers, stay-at-home mothers, part-time mothers and to each her own. But sometimes we get to the middle of our lives and wonder if what we did was right. If the sacrifices were worth it. And then we reach a crossroads; where will we go from there? Kara shares her own personal struggles with this in her powerful, ‘coming into her own’ story.

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The Love Rock Story – Reposted with Permission from Susan of Love Drenched Life

I have had a beautiful life filled with lots of laughter, smiles, and lots of love, beautiful children, a wonderful, dedicated and loving husband, solid friendships and a community that loves and supports their neighbors unconditionally. But sometimes life brings circumstances that are completely out of your control. In those times, it’s important to remember the beauty in life, love​,​ and knowing​ that God can​ — and will​ — bring a peace that surpasses all understanding​. Love Rocks was inspired by two girls who lived with immense love and joy. In their honor, we have chosen to s​hare that love and joy with anyone willing to receive it. Thank you for​celebrating with us!

On Oct. 20, 2013, the unthinkable happened to my family. My daughters, Anna (6) and Abigail (11) were hit by a car in front of our house. Both girls went to Heaven that night without warning. Since then, my husband Tom and I have had to navigate grief that we wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Our house is now empty – no laughter, no dance parties, no morning cuddles, no fighting about homework or bonding over our favorite meal. Empty.

We decided shortly after the girls went to Heaven that we were not going to allow the tragedy of one night to define our girls’ lives here on earth and the life they were now living in Heaven. Their legacy would not be this tragedy but rather the love and joy that they poured out to everyone who knew them and hopefully everyone who would hear their story.

We did not have choice on whether they went to Heaven on October 20th. We do, however, have a choice on how we live our lives honoring our Creator and honoring the lives of our sweet girls. And so, we choose love and joy!

Anna’s and Abigail’s lives were full of so much love and so much joy. They had a way of lighting up a room with their presence and putting smiles on the faces of those they came in contact with. They loved each other dearly and they were definitely sisters – maybe not by blood, but by the way they knew exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Anna adored her sister and wanted to be around her all the time. Abigail loved her little sister and was annoyed by the fact that Anna wanted to be around her all the time. True sisters!

Anna loved horses, Abigail loved theater. Both girls loved to dance, climb, be with their friends and loved family time. They would prefer a game as a family over a movie any night – LIFE, UNO and Jungle Speed being their all-time favorites. They were beautiful beyond words, both on the outside and more importantly on the inside. They had giving hearts and loved to find ways in which they could help those in need. They were insightful, kind, nurturing and loving to all who had the honor of being in their presence, especially their friends.

In April of 2014, 6 months after the girls went to Heaven, Tom and I felt nudged to share a project that we as a family did for our wedding in June of 2011. The girls, Tom’s mom and I spent time cutting out fabric hearts from our favorite fabrics and then Mod Podging them to river rocks. We made one for each of our guests to take home and another one that would be written on by our guests for us to keep. These little rocks have held a lot of meaning in our house since our wedding day and are placed in various rooms so that we can enjoy them no matter where we are.

That little nudge to share took on a life of its own. On April 20th, I launched the Facebook Page, Love Rocks. I shared a bit of our story and our hope for spreading love and joy through these simple rocks and included a tutorial for how to make them. Before pushing the publish button, I had to come to terms with the fact that nothing may happen with this little idea of ours. I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and sent our idea out into the world.

What has happened over the past 5 months has been miraculous. Love Rocks have been shared in our little town, our state of Oregon and in every other state in the U.S. Love Rocks have been shared in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and Australia. I’m still waiting for a picture to be posted in Antarctica.

There are photos of Love Rocks in parks, on beaches, on The Great Wall of China, in front of the Eiffel Tower, on doorsteps, in hospitals, at weddings and at funerals, in a secured NASA facility and at Anna’s and Abigail’s tree.

There have been so many stories of how these little rocks with fabric hearts have found their rightful owner just when they needed it most. They have warmed hearts and brought so much Love and Joy to this world — so much more than we could have ever imagined when we felt nudged to share.

The inspiration for Love Rocks comes from Anna, Abigail, and our loving community that supported us and continues to care for us. The outpouring of love and the immense joy that is felt throughout the world is their legacy – one filled with hope, light and laughter.

My girls’ lives were and are beautiful. They have taught so many how to live a love story and I am very proud to be their mom.

~~~~~

Susan lives in Forest Grove, Oregon. She is a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister and friend. She loves God with all of her heart. You can read more about Susan and the Love Rocks movement she founded at www.love-drenched-life.com or on www.facebook.com/lovedrenched.

 

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Living Intentionally Instead of Longing for the Past: A Little M2M Guest Post Action

If there is a crossroads between young and old, I think I have arrived there. At 34, I feel like I have one foot in my youth and one foot over the threshold of being old. Now, before you laugh and dismiss me on this, take a moment to ponder it for yourself. If you are older than me, think back to a time where you felt like you could still very clearly remember the angst of your teenage years, the rebelliousness of being a young adult, the bliss of your newlywed years, and the tenderness of carrying, birthing and cradling your first newborn. Then, as the years went on and you matured and watched your babies grow, those memories of youth began to fade and the wisdom of adulthood took its place. Life, once simple, became more complicated and although its simplicity is still reflected in the eyes and chattering of your children, it has nearly become lost on you….

Continue reading over at What Joy is Mine, where I have the incredible honor of guest posting this week. Enjoy!

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Like what you see here on M2M? Want to add your voice? Share your own story of motherhood? I would love to feature you! Please contact me and I will be happy to send you the specs for content. I hope to hear from you soon!

November is Adoption Month and M2M Wants to Hear From YOU

There is nothing more beautiful to me than the strong women who make up the two sides of adoption motherhood. First, the woman who makes the brave choice to endure 9 months of pregnancy and several hours of labor pains to give life and a future to a child, and then hand him or her over to another. And secondly, the woman who receives that baby to love and raise as if it were her own flesh and blood. Both are mothers and both deserve to have a whole month to celebrate their roles. Of course there are so many other influencing components in the complexity of adoption…the adoptee themselves, siblings, aunts and uncles and grandparents on both sides, adoption counselors, agencies, legal team and caseworkers. The list can go on and on. Adoption touches so many different people and in many diverse ways.

It is one of my favorite causes to champion for, partly because of my own experiences with adoption. You can read more about that here, or for ALL the messy details, you can order a copy of the book I wrote about my journey to choosing adoption here or as an ebook for Kindle here.

As we approach the adoption month of November, I want to devote the whole 30 days to others’ stories that honor it…Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, adoptees, or anyone listed above or forgotten that either play a role in helping to support adoption or has been touched by it in some way.

If you or someone you know has a story of adoption or works for or has been impacted by a reputable adoption organization that they would like to share about on M2M during the month of November, please contact me, I would love to feature them! You can email me at wynterkaiser@gmail.com.
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And now for the monthly Motherhood Monday Link Up!
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The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

LINK UP GUIDELINES

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!

*THAT* First Day of School Blog Post

Every year it is the same…”back to school” ads in the paper and on TV, every store window looks like the perfect dorm room, there are fewer school-age children at our favorite daytime play places and, last but not least, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with “first day of (fill-in-the-blank) grade” pictures of happy, new clothes-clad, chalkboard-holding school children.

Years ago, as a mom of babies, I hardly recognized the switch from summer to fall, save for the changing colors of leaves, the crisper air and my abundant garden needing to be preserved. When my oldest was in preschool we decided to homeschool, so the beginning of the fall school year meant 1-3 days of an hour or two at home and some fun “field trips”to the local pumpkin patch. It wasn’t until last year, when we decide to put her into public school kindergarten, that the enormity of back-to-school-ism really hit our family. We bought our school supplies, took our “first day of kindergarten” pictures and posted them on social media, just like the rest of the world. But, still, it was only half-day kindergarten. I still had one preschooler and one baby at home and it never REALLY felt too serious. Flash forward to this year. Our oldest is in all-day 1st grade, our middle child in homeschool prekindergarten and our baby in homeschool pre-preschool. This. Is. Serious. (And for those of you with ALL your children in all-day school, please don’t laugh.)

Our first grader is attending a very cool, very sustainable, very HIPPIE charter school here in our home town. School days are Monday through Thursday 8:50-3:05 and Fridays until 1:05. They have art twice a week…real, actual ART (gasp!), recess every day outside, rain or shine (and hello, this is Portland, Oregon so that means RAIN for much of the next seven months) and they take a walking “out and about” each week. So, for our back-to-school supplies this meant a $90 waterproof jacket from REI, $60 Bogs rain boots that keep footsies cozy and dry in 10 degrees, a reusable water bottle and lunch box filled with gluten, nut and sugar-free, organic items in recyclable or reusable bags and containers. (Insert husband’s gag.)

Phew! It’s only the 2nd week of school and I’m already exhausted! Not to mention, I cried like a baby when she and my husband left on the first day and I stayed home with the younger two (a scheme we devised last year on her first day of kindergarten so I wouldn’t exhibit said crying at the school and embarrass my big girl). Ironically, however, when I assumed the task of dropping her off on the SECOND day of school, the crying fit came anyway. Aaaaand, to make matters worse, I feared all day long on the first day that I had forgotten to get her. 11:40 rolled around and as I’m making the other two lunch, I panicked thinking I should have left to pick her up already, only to remember that I still had over THREE MORE HOURS. Geeeez! My days have never felt so long! How am I going to last another nine months of this! Forget that, how am I going to last the next 12 years?!!

There’s hope for me, right?! I’m ready for this, yes? (No.) YES!

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