Duck Tales | #WordlessWednesday

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.  –Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

On a recent visit to the park, I observed the little girl pictured above and her older brother chattering and interacting with the ducks. Based on their conversation, they visited the park frequently. They “knew” the birds personally, gave them names, and as you can see, fed them from their hands. I couldn’t resist photographing such a precious sight.

13 Life Lessons from My [Now] 13-Year-Old

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

Today is my son’s birthday, and “just like that,” there’s a teenager in our home!

If I weren’t living it, I would not believe how swiftly time flew to get us to this moment. Wasn’t it only yesterday that I was rushed to the hospital for a child who could not wait to enter the world? Wasn’t it only yesterday that I left the hospital longing for the day to bring my preemie home? Only yesterday for so many milestones, minor setbacks, and victories?

I can fill a book with all the things I learned through motherhood and my son. With his quick wit and acumen as I journey through, my son has been by far my most persistent life coach. So…in honor of my-not-so little one’s induction into “teendom,”  I’m sharing 13 “random” lessons from my now-teen. I’m not prioritizing because there are many, many valuable lessons and what follows are the first 13 “off the top of my head.”

    1. There is an unbelievable storehouse of strength inside to get through some of the toughest challenges life tosses my way.
    2. Paper, paint, and markers are the absolute best tools to chase the blues away. Humming while creating chases them even faster.
    3. Real intelligence is being able to explain the most abstract or complex concepts in the simplest terms.
    4. I set the standard for myself.  Other people’s opinions [of me] really don’t matter.
    5. There are way more important things than work. Taking time to play is a right and a responsibility.
    6. Sometimes a good cry and a nap make the world a whole lot better.
    7. The sweetest /most valuable things in life cost nothing.
    8. If I don’t like the story, I can rewrite it, recast it, and make myself the hero!
    9. Sometimes, I am the only sane one in the bunch.
    10. Reading the Holy Writ for hours at a time is never a waste of time.
    11. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
    12. There’s a theory for everything.
    13. Look up. There’s still so much wonder in the clouds.

I cherish every moment of my son’s growth from one phase in life to the next. I’m glad I held him in my arms as much as I could and adjusted my life and schedule to spend more time with him. I’m “in my feelings” a bit over how quickly time flies, but I’ll just rest in these moments and not worry that in the next “blink of my eyes” he’ll be off to college.

Adventure Time: Tag! I’m It!

I’ve been tagged in A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!‘s “3.2.1. Quote Me!” challenge. It involves quotations, so I can’t resist. Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you (Thank you, Darren of The Arty Plant Man!)
  • Post two (2) quotes for the dedicated “Topic of the Day”
  • Select three (3) bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Today’s Topic (from a week ago): ADVENTURE

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. –Jawaharlal Nehru

When my son was much younger, he loved going on “adventures.” Everything was an adventure–walks in the neighborhood, playing in the park, road trips, a trip to the grocery store, nap time. When we were headed “nowhere,” he created adventures for us, complete with a filled backpack, a map he’d drawn, binoculars for spying, a compass, and of course, canteens filled with water.

His approach to life illustrated so clearly that every moment offers adventure and that we don’t have to go out and find adventure. Sometimes we have to create our own wherever we are and with the means available to us.

I’m not always as adventurous as he is, but perhaps that’s because parenting is about as much adventure as I can handle most days.

Parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure. –Brene Brown

My nominees are:

Note: Although adventure is the topic for today, there is no specific deadline for it. You can address it whenever you wish.  In fact, feel free to use the topic “adventure” or the latest topic, “chic.”

Have fun!

3-21: “Every Child Is a Gift”

Our children are special gifts…Every child brings something unique to her [his] family.  –Lovina Johnson

Being a parent is tough. I’m convinced that being a mom is tougher. We carry everything our children are in our hearts—the good, the bad, and everything between. It takes an insane amount of patience to step back and allow them to become, an extreme amount of self-training to work against our natural tendency to mold them into our ideal of perfect little beings who refine all the imperfections in us.

As moms we look forward (with bittersweetness) to our children’s increasing independence as they grow up and away from us and into their own adulthood.

Because of a brief exchange I had with a “special needs mom,” as she describes herself, I’ve been thinking about what this means for parents of “differently abled” children–children who are always set against strict societal definitions of normal and perfect and genius. How do these moms feel when societal standards are “out of reach” or “impossible” or “unattainable” for their children? When independence is a long, long way from now, if at all?

One of my dearest friends, Lovina, reminded me through a YouTube video that today is World Down Syndrome Day, and she answered “in brief” the question.

It warmed my heart to hear her share the story about her beautiful daughter Nya. One of my favorite people in the whole world was my mom’s youngest sister, Patricia. Trish, as we called her, had Down Syndrome. She lived to the age of 42 though she was not expected to even reach double digits. She was one of the sweetest souls and I vividly remember childhood and adulthood moments with her.

Today, I’m thinking about Trish and Nya. Today, I’m thinking about Lovina and all the moms and dads who learn that though their kid is not perfectly “crafted” by the world’s standards, they are beautifully perfect in their own skin.

To learn more about Down Syndrome and find out what’s going on around the world today, follow the links below:

I appreciate Lovina’s words–every child is a precious gift. Celebrate that today.

What About the Children?

Photo from Pixabay

I’m having another super busy Monday, but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart to share the powerful message about children and homelessness my sister-friend Takiyah Franklin (Tk) recently recorded.

In sharing why she recorded the song, Tk writes:

The homeless crisis is getting worse . . . and while I want to see more action from [our] city [and state] officials, we the people have to act as well. I definitely don’t have the solution to the housing crisis, but I know I’m not so far removed from the realities of poverty to not care. Music is one way to raise awareness, so I choose to lift my voice as a tool for social justice.

In speaking specifically about the situation in Oakland, California, Tk reminds:

It is our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society. It is our duty to hold local and state officials accountable for working with the community and the corporations taking over to find solutions to homelessness and poverty.

The song, called “Homeless Children,” is the result of the collaboration between  Dan Zemelman (pianist and co-writer), Albert Greenberg (co-writer), Alberto Hernandez (engineer), Julie Wolf (producer), and Tk (vocal artist).

Click the image to listen to the song:

“Homeless Children” Recording. Photo by Pat Augsburger. Used by Permission.

For more information about childhood homelessness and to find ways you can help, see the following:

Be sure to check out local missions and programs to help with the the homeless crisis in your area.

It is my hope that homeless children–indeed all homeless people–will get the assistance they need  to improve their circumstances on this side of heaven.

First Day!

Image from Pixabay

I’m amused.

Today was the “first day of school”–the international holiday (of varied dates) for parents everywhere. I laughed at how my son was so excited for this day that he could hardly get to sleep last night. I chuckled over the number of times this morning I had to dodge a preteen in hot pursuit of a sorely missed friend.

I was further tickled by how each group had its own personality: Elementary students super excited and not afraid to show it. The whole body of Middle School cautious, uncertain of the “appropriate” public response–not too little, not too much. High Schoolers, too cool to show any enthusiasm or interest in any of the morning exercises. Student Council openly enjoying their dual role as ambassadors and spirit squad.

Almost everyone was thrilled on the “first day” to see peers, to get back into a regular routine of study and learning, school sports, and so much more.

What amuses me most is that on the “first day,” it seems every child was running toward the school building, buzzing with energy, ready to tackle the year ahead.  But by the last day…

These same children will be running in the opposite direction–arms flying in the air–away from school and friends, drunk on the possibility of two and a half months of freedom. From school.

K-12.  A funny little bunch.