When I Wish Upon A STAAR

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are: Intense~ Lovingly~ Growth spurt~ In the blink of an eye~ Bottle~ Blue

They were submitted by: http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two
One of them is this
They have the power to make a wish come true
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
It seems like just yesterday…
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In the blink of an eye, this little munchkin is now halfway thru his 11th year, moving on up to 6th grade!  Where did the time go!?!?!

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It’s been a very intense year, full of highs and lows, ups and downs.  Enough to make a girl wanna turn to the bottle!

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I feel like every time I turn around, man-child has experienced another growth spurt. Pajamas, jeans, shirts I swear I just purchased, already too small.  I can’t keep up.  He’s my baby and I want to hold on to every precious moment because I know all too soon he’ll be fleeing the coop, leaving my little nest empty.

As many of you know, we made the decision to homeschool man-child in January, after much prayer and thought.  I’m a big fan of public school and I have a fierce admiration for teachers.  Our decision wasn’t based on any perceived failure of his school. Our decision wasn’t religious in nature either.  It was a decision based upon the perfect storm of many factors.  It was a scary leap.  I’ve learned so much over the last few months, and it’s been such a rewarding experience and journey.  My son and I have never been closer.  I’ve watched him bloom, grow in ways I never imagined.  There is no better feeling than the moment when you watch a child begin to believe in themselves, comprehend their own potential and learn the benefits of hard work and perseverance.  It was unbelievably heartbreaking to know that our son didn’t believe he was smart, no matter how many times we tried to convince him otherwise.

The hardest part about our homeschool journey thus far is learning when to shut up.  I want so bad to always jump in and answer for him or help him navigate a problem.  Teaching myself to stop, let him figure things out on his own, let him be wrong, has been achingly difficult.  The growth I’ve seen in him on every level in these few short months has validated every agonizing decision that led us here, to this place.  I’m just so unbelievably proud of him.  The most important aspect of our journey has been watching him bloom under his own confidence, witnessing how proud he is of himself, and watching him discover the excitement and joy to be found in the act of learning.

We’ve learned so much about each other.  He’s learned that mommy is a terrible loser.  I’m not sure this was really a big secret, but I don’t think he’s every witnessed it firsthand.  They play this game in some of his classes called Kahoot.  It’s an app they log in and answer questions based on the subject material they’ve learned that day.  They are awarded points for every correct answer based on time.  So the quicker they answer correctly, the more points they are awarded.  Unfortunately, man-child witnessed some mommy meltdowns during some tough losses.  At one point, he pats me on the hand, gives me a hug and says “mom, it’s just a game.”

“It’s NOT a game!  IT’s LIFE!!!!!” I yell…screaming very unkind things about the other 11 year old’s playing.

Yeah, not one of my finer moments.  But there it is.  Perfect I’ve never claimed to be.

The homeschool we chose is still part of the public education system, so passing the STAAR test still needed to happen to progress to 6th grade.  Waiting to get his scores back was definitely torture. It was difficult to balance being positive about the outcome and realistic.  I wasn’t sure the few months we had together in this homeschool one on one environment would be enough.  I knew he had progressed leaps and bounds in those few short months, but was it enough?  I was terrified that if he didn’t pass, it would unravel all the confidence and growth we had witnessed over the past few weeks.  I clumsily navigated that tightrope of realistic expectation versus hopeful anticipation.  I wanted to prepare him for the worst possible outcome while at the same time lovingly encouraging him to believe in himself and the hard work and effort he had put forth regardless of what might happen.

So it was with bated breath we waited…

HE DID IT!

So proud of this boy and can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us, cheered us on, encouraged and supported us, we couldn’t do it without you ❤

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com

On the Border                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom       http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

The Global Dig                                  http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                          http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Something To Talk About

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you know people are talking about a friend of yours behind her back, do you tell her?  Or do you talk to the people who are gossiping or….both?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.” Joseph Conrad

Whenever I think of the word “gossip”, I always picture in my mind Mrs. Oleson from Little House on the Prairie.

It didn’t always carry such a negative connotation. The word gossip began use as a noun, meaning “god sibling, or intimate friend.” Shakespeare actually began using the word as a derogatory verb to describe mostly female behavior and the word has evolved from there to the way we think of and use it today.

I think my answer to this particular question depends on a wide variety of circumstances.  I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer here.  Maybe I’m complicating it unnecessarily and for many of you, it’s very simple.  Or maybe, like me, you can think of hundred scenarios in which you would react differently depending on many factors/reasons.

I remember talking with a friend and for some reason she decided to divulge an extremely sensitive secret about not only a co-worker, but this person also happened to be my boss.  They were friends, good friends, before she became “the boss.” She shared many personal details about her life with the friend sitting in front of me on this day.  Why she decided to blurt out this particular secret to me, I still don’t understand to this day. I immediately felt extremely uncomfortable.  This wasn’t the idle chitchat of two bored co-workers. This wasn’t one friend venting to another or seeking advice.  I felt like a bomb had been detonated.  I didn’t respond.  The silence stretched on.  I knew she regretted her outburst almost immediately.  Her red face leaning in to whisper that of course, I can’t tell ANYONE about the truth bomb she lit underneath me. I felt off-kilter. I felt guilty for even knowing this tidbit of information about my boss.  I hurt for her.  I felt the violation deeply in my soul.  I continued to let my friend fill the silence with nervous pratting. My mind racing, trying to wrap my head around this newfound knowledge.

I agonized over this information for days.  It changed, not the way I felt for my boss, I didn’t lose respect for her, if anything my respect for her had grown, I just felt so uneasy knowing this facet of her personal life that I know she would never have told me voluntarily, that it did affect the way I interacted with her.  It wasn’t my business but I couldn’t unknow it.  Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I had to tell her.  If the situation were reversed, I would want to know that this piece of information was floating around out there.  If this “friend” had told me, then it was certainly possible she had told others.  I wasn’t sure what she could do about it, but I felt very convicted that telling her was the right thing to do.  Right or wrong, I took her to lunch one day, and I told her.  She handled the whole situation with so much grace.  She admitted that while it wasn’t something for which she felt ashamed, it was deeply personal and not something she necessarily wanted out there in her work environment.  She was extremely disappointed and hurt by our mutual friend.  If she ever confronted her, I don’t know.  It wasn’t something I ever discussed again with either of them.

It brought into sharp focus the inherent danger in gossip.  How quickly it can take an ugly turn.  I don’t understand the motive behind telling me this particular secret on this particular day.  It seemed she was hoping to undermine my respect for my boss, but I really don’t understand why and when it comes down to it, the why doesn’t really matter.  She was wrong for sharing it.  It was a confidence she shared with another, a confidence she betrayed, a bond she destroyed and a friendship and working relationship irrevocably changed in a negative way.  My heart hurt for my boss.  Did I do the right thing in telling her?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  At the very least, I thought it would make her think twice before sharing information with this particular person again.

A serious trust was violated that day.  I’m always very careful about what I share with others.  Only a very few special people deserve the title, “heart friend”.  You know, that person that would help you bury the body and carry the secret to his/her grave.  I think gossip can be a very natural and healthy way to communicate among friends, but we must tread carefully and respectfully.  Words spoken aloud can’t be undone.  Words are powerful.  As women particularly, we are quick to tear each other down instead of lift each other up.  Gossip can be positive.  It can be used to describe the ways in which people communicate in community with one another.  It can promote bonding between friends. I believe it is a necessary part of our humanity, bringing us closer, helping to identify and set up moral boundaries.  Gossip becomes dangerous when it turns into theft of another’s reputation.  Gossip can be neutral and positive, but it can also be malicious and hurtful.  Typically, we know the difference when we hear it or when we speak it.

There is a Jewish proverb that says, “And your speech is like the feathers scattered on the wind. Once your words have left your lips, they, too, cannot be gathered again. From now on, be careful of what you say.”

Words to certainly live by ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen      http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope               http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom       http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

Climaxed                                          http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Momma Got Schooled

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Office ~ great ~ pillows ~ cat ~ hat

They were submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

If you’ve been following my blog at all then you know that we recently decided to homeschool our son.  We’ve only been doing it since feels like forever January and it’s definitely taken some getting used to on both our parts.  I would definitely say it’s been very positive and I’ve seen so much growth in him already.  I just miss my free time.  A little.  Or maybe a lottle.

I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.  We’ve definitely bonded over this experience and I’m proud to be such a positive influence in my son’s daily learning environment.  The confidence he’s exhibited in his abilities and the leaps and bounds he’s growing both emotionally and mentally just can’t be measured, but…

I am never alone.  NEVER.  Like ever.

And we downsized so now there is even less space for me to never be alone in.  Sometimes, if I’m being honest, it’s a little claustrophobic.  I long for the days when I could walk around the house stark naked eating ice-cream and watching soap operas with absolutely no one around to judge me.  Not that any of those things actually happened…that you can prove anyway…but you get my point.  I knew that sacrifices would be made, and apparently spontaneous nudity and ice-cream bingeing are the proverbial lambs in this scenario.  Anyway, this blog isn’t about my nudity (thank goodness!), it’s about using words in a sentence or a collection of sentences that form, in this case, a blog post.  Words I don’t get to choose.  Much like my son’s weekly spelling assignments in which he has to make sentences out of a few of his spelling words.  This has got to be the worst segue ever but I really struggled with how I was going to use these words, and then this week my son had a spelling assignment and suddenly I knew exactly how I was going to use the words I’d been given!

In his “brick and mortar” school (I’m so down with the home-school lingo), my little man HATED writing.  And reading.  And math.  Ok pretty much everything but recess and lunch.  Now, one of his favorite assignments are turning his spelling words into a paragraphical work of art (his words).  He is supposed to write individual sentences for each word choice, but he’s taken liberties with this assignment and turned his spelling words into a mini 1 to 4 sentence story paragraph.  I let him go with it, because he’s never been this creative when it comes to writing.  He loves to read to me what he comes up with and it’s fun to see him excited about writing and spelling.

In this weeks assignment the words were: trustworthy, desert, competition, dessert, qualify and flame.

“The trustworthy kids were in the desert in a competition for dessert but you had to qualify by putting your foot in a flame!”

I mean genius right?!?!

Ok, here’s another!

The words were: handsome, accountant, minimum, adjectives, blindfold and gentleman

“Once on a dark cold winter day, there was a very handsome gentleman named Lazy Larry.  Lazy Larry was an accountant making minimum wage, even though he also studies the art of amazing, awesome adjectives and before he sleeps each night he puts on a blindfold and that is the end of the story of Lazy Larry.”

And my personal favorite!

The words were: muscle, muscular, customary, quest, principal and principle (spelling danger words (homographs) are so fun!)

“Once there was a very muscular man and even his muscles had muscle and his name was Man, which was customary back then.  He lived in a cave.  He was a caveman on a quest to be the best caveman with the principle to never hurt anyone, either large or small.  Unfortunately, Man served a principal named Guy, also customary. Guy was mean, but Man got to leave on this amazing adventure and was never seen again because there was a meteor.  The end.”

I asked for his help on my words and he respectfully declined.  Apparently, he’s done HIS work for the day and he can’t be responsible for MY work and I shouldn’t have procrastinated.  It really sucks when your kids use your own words against you.

So, in the spirit of channeling my inner 5th grade boy, I present to you my most magnificent paragraphical work of USE MY WORDS art!

My words again are:  Office ~ great ~ pillows ~ cat ~ hat

“In the office of the land’s great seat of power sits a cat, on a stack of pillows because he’s a cat and otherwise wouldn’t be able to see over the desk without it, wearing a hat so tall they had to build a special skylight above the desk to accommodate it’s great size which is fitting for the cat’s great responsibility in the office of the land’s great seat of power.”

Clearly, my son comes by his gifts naturally.  So I read my work of genius to him and I got…silence.  Nothing but silence.  Then he says, maybe I should help you.  And pats me gently on the back, shaking his head sadly.

He tells me to sit and he’ll show me how it’s done…

Here is his contribution:

“The amazing office with the great pillows had a grand cat but an odd cat.  This cat was wearing a hat and this cat was called the cat with the hat.”

I mean…  There is a very clear winner here.  Right?

Dr. Seuss either of us are not.  Obviously.

But I still think we both make the grade and the best part of my day is when we get to be silly like this and laugh with each other.  Way better than spontaneous nudity and alone time is overrated.  I’ll cherish these moments forever and ever.  Amen.

(maybe I can join a senior retirement nudist camp in my twilight years…so there’s that)

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                        http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Bookworm in the Kitchen             http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon                           http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom                      http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                      http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                 http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Something To Talk About

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You have 24 hours to spend with an ancestor. What do you talk about?

It was submitted by: It was submitted by: http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

I’ve been thinking about my Great-Grandmother quite a bit lately.  She passed away over 20 years ago.  I know her in the way a child knows a grandparent.  I wish I had known her as an adult.  I remember sitting on her front porch, shelling pecans or snapping beans, listening to her talk, telling stories.  I’d love another chance to do that again, even just for 24 hours.

I don’t know much about my ancestry, but even if I did, I can’t imagine wanting to spend time with anyone else.  Grandma Dowell left a huge impression on my young mind and heart.  Every morning, I’d wake up on our visits to find her reading her bible.  I can thank her for my love of bacon, the kind fried up in a skillet, steeped in grease and love.  Yum!  I can only really remember her being on the porch or in the kitchen.  She was always working, never stopping, those bent and gnarled arthritic hands constantly in action.  I loved going through her purses, she also kept gum or mints stashed in them.  She had a little apartment attached to her house, my sister and I would spend hours playing in there.  I sat, entranced, in front of her television, watching MTV.  You know, back when MTV played music videos.  Videos like Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” or “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.  Oh!  Another good one, “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran.  I know I’m totally dating myself.  Remember “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel?  “When The Doves Cry” by Prince makes me all nostalgic.  I would slip into a music video coma when “Take On Me” by a-ha would come on.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention “Like A Prayer” by Madonna or “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, which was also my first album by the way.  Ah, the memories.  Good times.

She loved me.  I don’t remember her being overly affectionate, verbally or otherwise, but I never doubted that she loved me.  She cooked all my favorite foods.  She spent time with me.  She listened to me.  She spoke to me as if I were an equal, as if my thoughts and feelings mattered, making me feel grown up and treasured.  She had such patience for my litany of questions, cautioning me once that “curiosity killed the cat.” I’d laugh and say but “satisfaction brought it back.” I miss her.  I’ve been thinking about her so much lately, even before I got this prompt.  I’m not sure why.

I wish my kids could have known her.  I wonder what she would think of me now.  All grown up.  Would she be proud?  She kept a box of letters and pictures.  She told me she was keeping them for me because she knew I would be a writer someday, and I’d want them.  I don’t know what happened to that box.  I wish I had it.  She believed in me before I even understand what to believe about myself.  I feel like I’ve let her down.  I let life get in the way.  I let my doubts and insecurities hold me back.  Would she lecture me?  Admonish me?  What words of wisdom would she have for me?  There is so much I want to tell her.  I need her advice, her wise counsel.  She’d probably tell me to get over myself.  She wasn’t shy about giving her opinions.  I loved that about her.

I remember her house dresses.  Someone should bring those back.  I’m a big fan of pajamas that are socially acceptable in public.  I also remember the first time she took her teeth out in front of me.  That was horrifying.  I didn’t know anything about dentures!  I wasn’t allowed to put my elbows on the table, but she could place her teeth on it!  That didn’t seem fair.  She just laughed and laughed.  Her toothless smile wide as she patted me on the head.

I remember sitting crouched in the hallway during a tornado warning.  It was so scary, a tornado literally touched down behind and in front of her house, just missing us.  At least that’s how I remember it.  During the whole ordeal, grandma was in the kitchen making popcorn.  The old-fashioned way, on the stove-top, completely unaffected by the chaos upending everything outside her four walls.  I remember waking up to finding a huge snake in her kitchen.  I don’t remember how she got the snake out or what happened to the snake, but I remember how calm she was in the midst of my hysteria and panic.  That’s the best way to describe her, she was a rock, a stable force in my childhood.

I would ask her to cram all of our shared memories into 24 hours so I could record them and keep them forever.  I’d want to hear more about her life and her marriage.  She was born around 1894, when I think about all the things she witnessed, the history she lived, things I’ve only read about, I’m filled with wonder and curiosity for what life must have really been like for her.  For my birthday every year, she’d send me $1 and a pair of pantyhose.  $1 was a lot of money to her and pantyhose a luxury item.  Things I didn’t appreciate as a child growing up in a generation of X’ers, the world of plenty.  Going to visit her was like going back in time, a slower pace, more thoughtful and deliberate.  Peaceful and serene.  I’m probably waxing poetic about my time spent there in a way that memory allows, I don’t know how reliable are my thoughts and memories, but it makes me feel good, this version I tell myself.  It feels magical and special, a time in my childhood to be cherished.

I’d spend our 24 hours on her front porch, soaking her up like a sponge.  My adult self recognizing how special she was and how luck I was to know her at all, if only a little bit.  She makes up such a small part of my overall history and life to this point, but she made such a huge impact. I’d tell her all these things.  I’d make her fix me bacon again.  I’d share my time with her with my husband and children. I’d love nothing more than to give them a chance to know her, and vice versa.

Everyone should have a Grandma Dowell in their life.  I’m blessed and grateful she was a part of mine. ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy              http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                           http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                           http://thelieberfamily.com

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                              http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

Simply Shannon                                      http://shannonbutler.org

The Bergham Chronicles                           http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom      http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Not That Sarah Michelle                         http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                           http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated  Mom                              http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

When I Grow Up                                     http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

Climaxed                                           http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com