Part of me wants to write here every day to share this journey I'm on--and the miracles, and the sweetness, and all those moments where I feel like my stomach is packed full of butterflies.
And part of me just wants to stop writing because "putting myself out there" scares me.
But when I sat down to write today and looked to see if anyone even visited this blog since I last posted, there were thousands and thousands of visits. And since that left me pretty much speechless, I figured the best I could do is start with three things:
- A quick family snapshot
- An update on my mom (so many people have asked how she is doing...thank you!)
- A review of the three huge goals I'm working on right now (that are causing all those butterflies I mentioned above)
Before I start, I just need to say that our lives are not perfect. But they are so happy. I know that is such a blessing, and I don't take it for granted.
In fact, that's one of the reasons I've struggled to know what to write here. Life has been so good. And my relationships with my children and my husband have felt so beautiful to me. I worry that by sharing that, those who aren't currently experiencing the same thing will feel frustrated. (Because I've certainly felt that way in the past--looking into other people's "perfect" lives.)
But my life is what it is, and I want to record the beautiful and the hard parts.
So here we go...
We've been spending 2-4 afternoons/evenings a week at our local gym--with three children playing basketball (and a husband who loves the sport and is finally teaching me all the rules...he wonders what I was doing all those years as a cheerleader).
Here's Ethan catching the ball below:
One Saturday last month, we held our annual "We Love to Be a Family Day," where we make a map out of a Trader Joe's bag and a handful of construction paper hearts and surprise the children with a variety of activities and outings. (Spencer asked, "Can we have 'We Love to Be a Family Day' EVERY day?")
For details on holding your own, click here. (So much fun.)
Then there are those cute moments when I get to watch my boys make a home for the pill bugs or lady bugs they so carefully carried home from school:
And Gracie loves to organize her friends as they celebrate each others' birthdays.
Our school's 100-mile club is going strong. Spencer earned his hundred miles first (running every chance he got) and then this is the picture I took of Ethan the morning he earned his. They are both so much faster than I am....
I didn't think in a million years that my children would be excited to go to school early to run laps, but this club is amazing. (Check out their website here.)
And my cute Alia (who adores art and color) decided she needed to do something about the big blank wall in our kitchen. She made dozens of pinwheels one day and stuck them up in a beautiful rainbow pattern. PERFECT for St. Patrick's Day. It's made me happy all month.
The story of Alia's new friend Lia needs to be told in a separate post. I get choked up just thinking about it. Lia was raised in an orphanage in China and was adopted by a family in our area one year ago--along with four other children from China--all with special needs. (The family is amazing.)
These two girls eat lunch together every day at school and have become best friends. Last week, Lia came over to spend the afternoon with Alia (don't you love how their names match?). This was Lia's VERY FIRST play date ... ever. And the two of them smiled like this pretty much the entire time.
Then while Spencer was home with a cough last week, he figured out how to set up Monopoly. I had other things to do, and when I heard him call out, "Mom, wanna play MONOPOLY?" I kind of winced. But then I walked into the living room and saw him like this--with the game all organized, and that huge smile on his face, and so I sat and played with him for 20 minutes or so.
Someday I won't have a little guy asking me to pay rent on Boardwalk.
And I had to get this close-up shot of his two missing front teeth:
Oh, he has me wrapped around his little finger.
I had quite a moment while making this timeline with Spencer for his first grade oral language project.
We sat at the counter, looking through photos on the computer, and he picked out his favorite ones. Then I helped him print them and glue them to the paper--while Ethan was playing Legos next to us and Alia was learning the Feather Theme on the piano.
It's happening too fast, all this growing up. We're in this precious spot right now--where all my children are home most of the time, and they all listen to me, and I get hugs and kisses pretty much all day long. I feel like I've finally figured out how to be their mother, and I love it. And I don't want them to go away.
Our weeks are full of visits to the orthodontist and grocery shopping and homework and cleaning and daily smoothie parties and little naps on the trampoline when the sun is shining. And sometimes there's bickering, so we stop and talk through it, and I make "the fighting children" hug each other. We sing together and laugh together, and in the mornings, I usually get at least two of them climbing into my bed to snuggle for a few minutes.
Family life feels like magic to me right now, and I'm just hoping this feeling will last a long, long time.
Finally, a major part of this "family snapshot" centers around Eric. He's a fairly private person and doesn't want me writing about him all the time, but our relationship has never been stronger.
He is my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. He's the one who sends me to go take a nap when I'm grumpy, and he holds me tight and tells me he loves me every single day. He puts my happiness above his own, and even though we don't always agree on everything, he always listens to me and supports me and encourages me to keep going.
I'm madly in love with him.
So that's a glimpse into what our life has been like. I'm more than grateful.
(2) An Update on My Mom
We are still keeping up with our Thursday visits, and I have lots of photos and stories that are waiting to be shared.
But the simple story is that my mom is doing great.
For months, I thought I was losing her. She was declining so rapidly, and my visits to her home were painful.
But now, she is calm and happy and strong and healthy. And even though she's rarely sure who I am or where she is or what she's done that day, she is doing amazingly well.
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. Thank you for your advice on how to cherish these moments (and hopefully years?) that I have left with her.
I am recording videos and audios of her. I'm taking lots of pictures. I'm hugging her tight and singing with her. My children are enjoying our weekly visits, and I just can't even tell you what a gift it is to have this time with her and my dad.
More updates coming soon.
(3) My Three Huge Goals
Okay, so most of the people who read this blog know that I've been running Power of Moms with my partner, Saren, for nearly seven years now.
It's been growing well over that time (we have more than 30,000 registered members), and it's been a wonderful--albeit sometimes stressful--project, but this year, we decided that it's time to take it to the next level. It's growing so big that it's surpassed "hobby" status, and we want to reach all the moms who need this community.
So I've been working on three huge goals that sometimes feel so big that I get sick to my stomach...in a good way (does that make sense?).
Goal #1: Relaunch Power of Moms Radio and grow it into a podcast that reaches 100,000 deliberate mothers every single week. (Click the image to go to our radio page.)
I had no idea how many hours it would take to get this new radio show up and running, so that's taken quite a bit of time and brain power, but we have had nearly 40,000 downloads since we launched at the end of January, and we're now in 120 countries (Iran is now #3 ... which really surprised me).
It's been an amazing experience so far, and if you don't yet know what a podcast is, I put together a whole tutorial here. Join us!
Goal #2: Get Motherhood Realized on the NYTimes Bestseller's List.
Motherhood Realized is our brand new book--written by more than 30 authors, and it is honestly the most beautiful "motherhood book" I have ever read. You'd think that because all of the chapters had been previously published as posts on Power of Moms, I wouldn't have been surprised when I read the final manuscript, but reading it all together--in that format--struck my heart with such a powerful feeling that I am doing all I can to get this message of motherhood out to the world.
We're encouraging everyone we know to purchase the book on March 24th--which will help group the purchases and hopefully get the book onto some of the top lists that feed into the NYTimes list. This is one of my most "pie in the sky" goals, but I'm really excited.
(Click the image below to get a free chapter.)
And I embedded the video for the book here, if you'd like to see it (if it doesn't show up, click this link):
Goal #3: Share Mind Organization for Moms with 500,000 mothers.
As I've been contemplating my overall purpose and thinking about the best service I can give to other mothers, Mind Organization for Moms is at the top of the list. It's my GTD-based program that helps mothers to get their papers, tasks, emails, projects, and lists in order--so they can more fully enjoy their families.
It has been working beautifully for me for more than five years, and with 7,000 mothers using the program and email testimonials coming in almost daily, I feel like it's my responsibility to make this program into something that strengthens mothers all over the world and gives them the peace of mind they're craving.
I spent the first few weeks of February writing a free introductory eBook to the program, and now I'm sharing it with mothers everywhere (500,000 seemed like a good number to start with!).
You can click the image to learn more and access a copy, if you'd like!
So that's a basic recap of what I've been doing the past couple of months.
This all feels big to me.
Sometimes I want to hide under my covers and sleep all day.
Last Tuesday, I did.
My heart pounds fast when I wake up in the morning because I am so excited about what's happening...and so grateful...and kind of scared.
There are dozens of other major projects going on in the midst of everything I listed above, and sometimes when I look at all of it, I think, "How is all of this happening? Why do I think I can do this? What if I'm not up to the task?"
But then there's this sweet peace that keeps filling my heart. And there's a power beyond my own that is lifting me and carrying me--and bringing hundreds and thousands of amazing women to join the cause.
This isn't about me. This is a movement. This is about championing motherhood and strengthening families.
I'm just so grateful I get to play a little part.
More later (hopefully soon!).