Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day of School + A Product Review

The first day of school snuck up on us!

So...this week my kids headed back to school. We were not really ready. And by that I mean, I was scrambling to get everything together, labeled etc. And by that I also mean, I did not have lunch planned (they pack 5 days/week - 4 kids - that's 20 lunches a week) and did not have breakfasts in the freezer yet which is basically a lifeline for me. Needless to say, I'm a little stressed and flying by the seat of my pants which has made it kind of a brutal week, but we will adjust and next week has to better, right?

My youngest is in 1st grade and I'm not quite sure what to do with that. It seems just yesterday she was 2. The older two are both in 7th grade - I don't feel old enough for that! And our third born is a 3rd grader which is equally unbelievable. They were all nervous and excited and I was a teeny bit tearful as I prayed for them on the way to school. "Stop crying, mom. Seriously." I'm not crying, you're crying. We managed to make it on time and I didn't completely embarass them. I guess that's a win.

My four on their first day of school which was actually unseasonably chilly.

One thing that was awesome about my week is these amazing STEMSFX organizers. So many different sizes, so many great uses, and so many beautiful colors. They inspire organization.

STEMSFX Organizers
Think of all the uses for these organizers! I love the variety of sizes!

I'm using the zipper pouches to store the encouraging love notes I write ahead and sometimes stick in lunchboxes. I have plenty of sizes of heavy duty plastic envelopes for filing my menu plans, transporting reports to school, organizing medical records, and keeping track of receipts - really the uses are endless. These products are so durable and did I mention the gorgeous colors because they make me so happy. You could easily color coordinate for different uses - by child, by type of thing organized, by priority... I'm using a pretty purple one for all of my continuing education certificates for this license cycle.

They offer many other products to meet your business and home organization needs. I think they would be perfect for homeschooling, too! Check out their website. I'm curious - have you used these products before?

Have your kids headed back to school yet? Hope your first week was more organized than mine! Lots of grace for all.

Disclaimer: STEMSFX sent me these products free in exchange for my honest review. This review and opinions of the products are all my own. 

Monday, June 19, 2017


To my four beautiful, wonderful, amazing kids who work extra hard, deal with so much, and so long for healing peace, I love you. You fill me with joy, drive me to my knees, cause my heart to similtaneously ache and burst with pride, and make each day an adventure. I wouldn't want to do life with any other kids. I pray for you, I celebrate you, I hurt with you, I honor you, and I'm proud of you. We are in this together. You have my heart. 

I sat in church on Mother's Day this year with tears streaming down my face. It was unexpected. I couldn't stop. I wasn't prepared. Familiar images played across the screen as the words spoken by the woman portrayed made my heart ache. It was meant to be a testimony, a mission success, an example of grace...but for me, it released emotions I didn't even realize were so close to the surface. How could anyone know that the mother sitting towards the back was all too familiar with the sights, sounds, and emotions of this reality? How could they know that her journey of parenthood had begun in this very country with children not unlike this young woman? 

My sons. My heart. Orphans no more and yet orphans who once lived in an orphanage. They did not age out like this young woman. They were not told that their worth was only to be a prostitute like this young woman was told. But that could have been them and that is the reality of many of the children they once shared a crib with, a room with, an institution with. And I sobbed. The words and memories she openly shared and the images of her orphanage were overwhelming to me. In that moment, I could see and smell all that I know too well - the babies we met plus the older kids when I returned. The institutional hierarchy, the abuse, the was too familiar. 

My sons deal with the effects of being institutionalized for even the relatively short time they resided in their baby houses - scars and wounds and brain changes that should never be a part of any child's history. My heart couldn't handle the pain. The tears stopped, but my heart still aches. It probably always will. The reminders. The triggers. The reality. It is a pain that it is so hard to explore and yet ever present. It changed me forever. On an already complicated day one month ago, I wept.