Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Every day is full of blessings. And being able to recognize that is a blessing in itself. But this past week, as we gave thanks with those we love, the blessings were abundantly apparent. Family, friends, and food. Homes and clothes and dependable cars. Health and happiness. Jobs to go to and steady paychecks. Children to make us laugh. And grandparents and aunts and uncles who adore them. Nieces and nephews who we love like our own. Sisters and brothers who know us like no one else. Parents who have sacrificed and worked to make us who we are today. Love and laughter overflowing. And sweet, sweet salvation and the hope that comes with it. All blessings. Blessing upon blessing upon blessing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Things Thanksgiving Thursday

1. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. So laidback and relaxing. All about gratitude and family...and really good food.
2. The annual Flanagan Thanksgiving Cheeseball Contest was once again a highlight. This year's offerings: taco, chili-cheese, chicken jalapeno popper, fiesta, chocolate marshmallow, and peanut butter.
3. And the winner was...everyone! Because, really, with that much cheese, don't we all win? (Although Mom's peanut butter cheeseball with apple slices was super yummy.)
4. I found out that Dad has been reading my blog. Which I love. Any writing talent I have comes from him.
5. I love the kids in our family. They are funny and smart and wonderful. And really, really cute. They are six of my greatest blessings.
6. I will be cooking a turkey dinner at our house tomorrow since we ate at mom and dad's today. It's all about the leftovers.
7. We just finished a rousing game of The Big Deal. It's a board game from the early 80's that's a cross between Monopoly and Life. Julianna and I were a team and we won!
8. Although I think the boys were glad to lose to me since I then got supper ready while they finished the game.
9. And now we are watching our traditional Thanksgiving movie: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
10. I have so, so, so much to be thankful for today. And every other day of the year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disney on Ice

Mom took all of us girls to Disney on Ice on Sunday. It was princess-y and we knew the girls would love it. We didn't tell them where we were going until we got in the car to go. They were so excited! They grinned and giggled. I thought Abby was going to jump right out of her seat!

I learned a trick from a friend that when going to an event, it's a good idea to pick up a related toy to take with you and then when the kids see all the souvenirs, they already have one for half the price. And usually better quality. So I picked up princess dolls for the girls at Costco the night before. Ariel for Jules and Belle for Abby. They were thrilled with their new friends and didn't put them down for the rest of the afternoon.

We got there a little early and found that our seats were four adults with no kids in sight. (Okay. I would have gone to see Skyfall if I was with a bunch of grownups. But whatever.) They soon discovered that their seats were on the other end of the row and moved. And we discovered that they did have kids with them...sitting in the right spot.

The girls were shaking with excitement and could hardly wait to see what was going to happen. Abby apparently thought it was going to be a movie and Jules thought WE were going to be the ones skating. So the real thing was a surprise and a wonderful treat.

Ready for the show.
My four favorite girls in the whole wide world.
The Princess and the Frog was the first story.
The frogs and the Cajun lightning bug.
On the bayou.
Mickey and Minnie introduced the stories. Julianna leaned over and said, "Mommy, Minnie waved at us!"
Next was Cinderella. The wicked stepsisters were naughty. They even stuck their tongues out at the audience!
I wish I had a fairy godmother. But I wouldn't want a ball gown and carriage. I'd want fuzzy pajamas and a new minivan.
So sweet! Horses and carriage and off to the ball.
Prince Charming and Cinderella.
That wasn't in the movie!
Julianna and Ariel at intermission..
Belles of the ball.
Maximus from Tangled...the third story. The poor guy in the back end must have drawn the short straw.
Flynn stealing the crown Mission Impossible style.
Skating AND flying?!
Mom was a little worried.
Finally friends.
Flynn and Rapunzel.
All of the princesses and their princes.
 It was so much fun. And a really good show. Even us grown-ups kinda loved it. And our little girls really loved it. I wasn't sure we were going to get Abby to go home with us. She wanted more princess fun.

Then we went to lunch at Azteca. Ariel got in on the pictures.  
It was such a great day with all the girls. We've decided that it should be an annual tradition. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 titles of unpublished blog posts in my draft file.

1.The Grounding
2. Life Is Hard
3. Supide Down
4. Great is Thy Faithfulness
5. Fear
6. Consider the Hermit Crab
7. 20
8. Play Ball!
9. Seriously
10. Oh, Brother

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Yesterday was girls' day at my house. The boys were away at friends' houses and Arrty taught his NIC class, so it was just Miss Julianna and I in the house for a few hours. Our big project was to clean her room and move a bunch of her toys to the basement. So in I dove...with her "helping." The thing about her helping is this. It's not much help at all. As soon as I put something away she thinks it's the funnest thing ever to play with. Or if I put something in the box to go downstairs it's suddenly her favorite toy and can't possibly be moved to the far off land of the basement. But we got through it and moved two big boxes of stuff out of her room.

In the process, she discovered in her closest a play tent that I had bought at Target last year in the summer clearance. It's shaped like a tree and has branches and leaves surrounding the top. She was thrilled. And wanted to put it up. At that very moment. The problem was, at that very moment, her entire bedroom floor was covered with stuff I was going through. After her impatiently waiting for me to finish, we were able to clear enough space for her new play place. I was able to get it all together and set up...again with her help. And she quickly filled it with friends and books and toys to keep her company. And she loved it. And therefore I loved it. She played in there for the longest time and could hardly wait for the boys to get home so she could show them.

And what I was reminded of is this. I will do pretty much anything within my power to make my kids happy. I try not to go overboard and spoil them. (Although they are a little spoiled. But aren't we all?) But if it's something easy like putting up a tent in the house, I do it. Did it make my life easier? No. Did it make Julianna's day better? Yes.

Because, here's the thing. Kids grow up. Fast. And so if on a day when what I really should be doing is cleaning the house and I end up setting up a tent instead makes any one of my kids smile, I'll let the dishes and the sweeping wait. If I've learned anything from being a mommy for thirteen years, it's this. Kids don't wait. They just keep on moving through their lives. And if I don't join them on the journey, I'll miss out on some lovely, wonderful, exciting adventures with some amazing little souls.

So what is the blessing for today? Well, there are many. One is that I have a daughter when I never thought I would. She is a blessing many times over. Another is that our family is together and even when we are apart, we aren't really. And another is that I have three healthy, whole children to love and follow through this life. And by God's grace, lead into the next.

Friday, November 09, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 completely random things.

1. I am fully aware that it is Friday. So I guess this is 10 Things Friday. Whatever.
2. It is snowing. And there is snow on the ground...and the trees...and the cars. And you may like snow. But I do not. Not one little bit.
3. I spent a whole lot of hours at school yesterday grading papers and filling out report cards. Guess that's why it's called "teacher work day."
4. It takes twice as long to grade papers for 14 students this year as it did to grade papers for 7 students last year. Surprising, I know.
5. Oh, yeah. I also had to figure actual percentage grades for my middle school class. I got in a little bit of trouble because their grades were too high. Really?!
6. Not real trouble. Don't worry.
7. My daughter is going through a phase where she wants everything she sees in the store or on commercials. So the other day I said to her, "Julianna, you want everything you see." To which she replied, "Not everything...not boy stuff."
8. Speaking of my daughter, she wants to sleep in on the days I have to get up early, but she wakes up early on the days I get to sleep in. What's up with that?
9. It's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday.
10. Did I mention the snow? And that I don't like it? Oh, I did?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I found this post in my draft file. I don't know why I never posted it in April of 2008, but here it is today.

I am thankful. I am thankful that I know God and that he has chosen me as one of his own. And that I have chosen him.

Two things this week have reminded me of this. One is that I spent the weekend with 10,000 Christian women of faith worshiping and praising and learning more about his grace. (Which really is amazing, by the way.) And the other is the recent discussion about creation versus evolution on another blog. I didn't want to get into it there, and risk being called a magician or Bible thumper (no thumping here, just reading). I don't need to be called any mean names today. But it did remind me of how grateful I am that I believe. That I believe that God is real. And that he created this world and everything on it. Do I believe that I know everything about how and when and why he did it? Absolutely not. But since I do believe, I will someday get a chance to ask him.

I've always had this idea that when I get to Heaven there will be this big movie screen cloud that I will be able to watch all of history on. It will take a long time to watch from the beginning until the end, but I will, after all, have all eternity to do so. So when I'm sitting there watching the home movies of creation I will no longer have to wonder about any of it.

And for me personally, it takes a lot more faith to believe that all of this wonderfulness happened by chance. That all of the intricacies of life and the human body just happened to fall into place in just the right way at just the right time. What are the odds of that? And when I look at the children in my life and feel the one dancing inside me, I have to believe that there is more to this life than a big bang or a chance mutation. There is a God who made it all. Who still has a hand in it. Who cares what happens to each and every soul to ever live. And if it weren't for Satan we would all believe. And someday we will.

Look around. There are things, perfect things, that were designed. Designed by a loving, imaginative, all-knowing creator. And all I have to say to that is, "Thank you, Lord."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Today is November 4th. On this day 6 years ago I created this blog and wrote my first post. I was scared to death. Scared of writing. Scared of putting my writing out there for the world to see. Scared that I wouldn't know what to write. Or that no one would read it or care anyway.

The truth is, my fears are what drove me to create A Butterfly Moment in the first place. You see, I was in the midst of debilitating anxiety disorder and looking for anything to take my mind off my fears. Way more serious fears than any that I had about the blog itself. Fears of disease and death and craziness. Fear of leaving my children. Fear of taking a shower, even. I was afraid of everything. But I was mostly afraid of myself.

I've learned since that post traumatic stress disorder can do that to a person. But at the time I just thought I was really, really close to being certifiably crazy. Really.

And so I wrote. I wrote like I was the person I wanted to be. The person I used to be. I wrote like nothing was wrong and hoped it would rub off on reality. It helped. It gave me something to think about other than my fears. Something to cling to. It was the beginning of the end of my darkest days.

I called my blog A Butterfly Moment because the thought of butterflies fluttering around me gave me a sense of peace. Peace that I so desperately sought but that was so hopelessly out of reach. I tried to get peace from within myself. There was none there to be found. I tried to find peace through prayer. Boy did I pray. But I felt like my prayers just hit the ceiling. I tried to sleep my way to peace. No luck.

My brain was malfunctioning and I had no idea. My body was rejecting my every attempt at recovering reality and I still tried to fix it on my own. Silly, silly girl. But one day, when my young son asked me to get him some chocolate milk and I could not physically get off the couch to do so, something changed. I knew something had to be done. So I made some appointments with some doctors and I started the long road to recovery. I fought it. I fought the medication and the counseling. My pride still wanted me to go it alone. But my desire to be a mommy who could take care of her children drove that pride right out the door. And so I drove to my first counseling appointment with tears streaming down my cheeks and I sat in front of a complete stranger and sobbed. And she took my hand and looked me in the eye and told me it was okay. And that I could be fixed. And that God wasn't mad at me. Phew. She explained that the problem was with my brain, not my heart or soul.

After that and a prescription for anxiety medication I began a new journey. One that took me out of the hole I was in. One that finally, finally had a light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel. One day at a time. One minute at a time. I slowly healed. I could finally talk my way out of a panic attack. (Although some would argue that talking to yourself isn't improvement.) I even learned to predict and prevent major attacks. My brain was getting better. And so were my heart and soul in the process.

Anxiety is still a battle I fight on occasion. But now I at least have some weapons. And some help from those I love. And from above. (Which I had all along, by the way. I just couldn't see very well in the dark.)

And so six years after my first post on Butterfly, my life has changed dramatically. I have another child. A pink one even. And those two little boys who played on the floor while I wrote are taller than me now. I've celebrated my 40th birthday and my 20th anniversary. And I've healed and learned and grown stronger from those dark days.

And so today I count among my blessings A Butterfly Moment. For giving me a place to write and share and heal. And for giving me the chance to enjoy so many wonderful, peaceful butterfly moments.