As I am.

I can’t help but write.  Not cause I’m great at it.  Not because I have a million important things to say, although I do love to talk…but because I ache to write.  I want to write.  For myself.  I’ve always only written for myself…even when I blogged before,  I wasn’t publishing big thoughts or inner ramblings – just pictures of my kids and, well, basically just that.  Which is fine, of course.  I love those babies more than anything.  But even when I was blogging “like that”…I was still writing.  In dozens of notebooks…in google docs…in Notes on my phone…in word documents, late at night or early in the morning when my head was flooded.  It truly does help sort out the mind.   I feel lighter, clearer, and…happy.  What’s so magical about putting pen to paper? Or fingers to the keyboard?  I’m not really sure…but what I do know is that I love it. And while I’ve never had the pull to write a book, or pursue any kind of writing as a career (well, that’s not entirely true)…I just know that I want to keep doing it.  It fills my cup, gives me clarity, and it’s just part of who I am.  And when I ignore the pull, I’m ignoring a piece of myself.

So, I want to write, to write.  And I want to blog to stretch myself.  Even if it’s always and only for me.  I have no serious agenda, I just want to share myself, being true to who I am, openly offering myself to the world to whomever I can bless.

My world right now consists of five amazing kids, who we’re currently homeschooling.  So I’m in a constant state of awe and struggle and excitement and exhaustion.  I absolutely love being home with my crew, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  But being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean I do dishes all day long.  Oh no, my life is far more fulfilling than that.  My life is far from ordinary, but it’s not magical either.  And I live in the balance somewhere of being my unique self while mothering my tribe, loving my people, and doing life the way it fits us.  So really, that’s what I write about.  It’s all over the place, just like life. It’s wild, fun, hard, full of stories of adventure, despair, confusion, hope, love, and a peace that passes understanding weaving a thread through it all.

Every morning I watch the sun rise through the trees.  I long for the day I can sit on my porch with my hot tea, soaking in the view of a full sunrise.  But for now, this is my view.  It’s not perfect, but it’s still glorious.  It still fills my soul and reminds me of the promise of a new day.  I love this quiet hour, before I hear footsteps running down the stairs, before the to-do lists, before the rush.  I want to sit in that moment and not let it go.  Not miss it.  And that’s why I’m choosing to write.  To not miss the chance to put my thoughts down…to understand myself, my family, this world, and my God more.  To not let it all pass me by in the name of productivity and busyness.   Learning to be still is one of the greatest skills and gifts one can pursue.  I will be alone with my thoughts. I will flesh them out. And I will be better for it.

Thank you for letting me share my voice.  I just want to share my story, and I want to know yours too.

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Adventuring we go

My poor, neglected blog.

I wanted to hop on and let you know that I’m much more active on Instagram & Snapchat (both are: mysixhearts) if you care to follow along with our daily life!  I hope to blog more often once the new school year starts, but for now it’ll be few & far between still.

For now, this can’t be top priority, but soon it will move up the list, and I look forward to that.

Right now we’re exploring Traverse City, Michigan for Spring Break. It is stunning and breathtaking and we’re having a blast.  Follow along on IG & Snapchat!

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“Stained Glass” Name Art

I first came across this cool little project while I was (obsessively) perusing Pinterest one night for Art room inspiration. Asher is always begging for a new Art project, so I love to tuck away ideas for a rainy day…and last night we gave this one a try!  Here’s a brief “tutorial,” {if you can even call it that}. He was so excited to try it, so I decided to snap a few pictures so I could share on my blog…and apparently a tutorial is what the cool kids call it.  This wasn’t fancy, we didn’t have great supplies, but it’s important to note that the main thing is to create memories & smiles with your kids! So here we go…

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Materials Needed:

Butcher Paper (we used wax paper cause that’s what we had, but butcher is best!)

Sharpies

Ruler/Straight Edge

Tape

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Make a rectangle of your desired size with a FAT black sharpie.  Then write the letters inside that rectangle.  Our black sharpies were running out of ink (isn’t that always the case?!), so it’s not a nice, clean line – it would look a lot better with a thick, black line!  But here’s to making Art on the fly! No matter what!

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Next, have your child go to town coloring in the negative space between the letters. It’s really fun to provide bright colors, because they’ll stand out better in the natural sunlight.  Also, you can encourage them to color in one direction – I didn’t address that with Asher this time, but it’s a good learning opportunity!

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Cut around the rectangle, and tape to a window…easy peasy.  I’m sure you could get more creative & make a frame if you like!  Ash wants to do several projects a day, so they can’t all be elaborate.  In fact, that’s why I wanted to share this with you – it took all of 15 minutes, no prep, no mess, and it’s something different and that they can be proud of.

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It does, however, require patience.  Sharpies + kids = possibilities (good&bad!).

Art should always be part of our lives, even if you’re not an “artist.”  Find ways to create with your children – they need positive outlets to express themselves!  Art also encourages quiet activity, mental health, creativity and confidence.

“Creativity is contagious…pass it on!”

Albert Einstein

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.

These days the pendulum swings back and forth.  I wake, not knowing how I’ll feel, how I’ll face the day.  Some days I jump out of bed full of angst, and clean my house top to bottom as a stress-reliever.  Other days I struggle to accomplish daily tasks, pouring cup after cup of coffee, relying on caffeine to keep me somewhat sane.

My sister has cancer.  Again.  For the third time.

I won’t go into details here because that’s her story, but I sit to type my teeny tiny part in it all, because I’m trying to figure out how to navigate these waters.  I share this raw pain because I know so many others are suffering too – have loved ones who are suffering, and it’s a foggy wasteland with no guidebook to tell you what to do, say, or how to feel.

I hate this numb sensation of being between worlds.  There’s my reality, which is five kids who need dinner and homework help and baths and baseball games and story time at the library.  There’s this other reality where my sister, one of the people I love more than anything on this earth, is facing unthinkable mountains…and I’m over here tying shoes, stirring soup, and doing laundry.  We get up, we do the next best thing, we have to keep going, but it feels like I’m struggling to just keep my head above water.

The pain, anxiety, fear sweeps in at any moment.

Where to turn, how to cope, what to say, how to process.

A few days ago I spent some time by myself – I had to sit down with God and have a conversation and see how I felt about all of this.  This unfair life.  This cruel suffering.  I scream & cry out & beg my God for mercy.

GOD.  I’ve asked Him why.  He hasn’t told me.  I don’t expect Him too, but sometimes I want Him to make Himself clear. Like, ‘I said I had your back.  I really do.  And hers too.  I am holding her.’

For God alone my soul waits in silence;

from Him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

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Sweet Georgia is our bright spot.  With every hurdle she crosses, the flame of hope is fanned.  Encouragement returns and we have something beautiful to cling to.  She continues to grow and make positive changes, although she still struggles to fully breathe on her own.  Leah aches to bring her home.  We ache with her.

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We spent the last several days in Baltimore with my family.  It was a blessed time, full of playing cousins, lots of food, lots of noise (lots of US!).  I come home, and I feel grief.  Once again I’m on the low side of things, where nothing makes sense and you cry out, angry at your helplessness.  How do I continue with my daily life while someone I love is facing something so huge?  It’s a strange reality. And it feels like all the visits, hugs, cards, meals…they’re never enough…they can’t take it away.

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I’ve been learning.  I’m working on finding my balance…I’m not sure I will, or that it even exists.  I can become better balanced, at least.

Writing helps. Meditation helps.  Prayer.

Here is where I strive to walk through life, together. with love.  Not come alongside those I love, or feel called to love, and then do my own life. This pull doesn’t feel right, cause it’s not.

If my life is too full to engage with others, in their joys and pains, to see and fill a need, to lend a shoulder, to be a friend, then my life is too busy.

I’ve realized in these past few months, that I’ve naturally looked to the simple beauty in my every day.  Something to cherish, love, count as a blessing.  I used to look at my life as parts to be divided, a schedule to keep, goals to accomplish, and that meant I was doing something worthwhile.

I know I have one goal: to love God and others.

Everything in my life should fall under that.

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My days are different now…we have the continual “black cloud” that follows us, yet suffering teaches us to put aside the frivolous, and cling to what is good and beautiful.  Family, faith, friends, love, simple joys in life.  My strange reality of daily life continuing while  Leah faces all she does has to mesh together some how.  I can only do that by facing each day with love in my heart for those in front of and beside me.  To do the next best thing.  To “do small things with His great love.”

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Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.

Mother Teresa

If you’d like to follow Leah & Ian’s story, read more here.