I miss you! Writing every other week this summer just isn’t cutting it. I know it’s the right thing to do, but I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with the school year!
This has been a summer of growth for me. And not in the fun way like learning a new hobby or excelling in a sport. But the spiritual kind. The kind when God takes the chisel from his tool belt and carefully and precisely refines his child. It’s the growth that come through trial that’s difficult to endure, but worth it in every way because it changes you forever.
I’ve had some struggles this summer and yet I felt God calling me to choose his gift of joy. Normally I read and study to learn new things, but this time He seemed to pour information into my heart. I wrote a post about it here. The most stunning part to me was that we are in his will when we pray for joy. And the answer to prayer within is will is always yes!
A homebody on the go
I’m growing spiritually and the kids are growing up too. They are no longer content sticking around the house all day every day. They get restless and wild. I shared in my summer calendar printable post that we’re doing themed days, and that is helping tremendously.
We’ve become people who plan out weekends. I’m a natural homebody and know that down time at home is good, but as the kids get older, Marcello and I see that it goes smoother to have a loose plan — check out free things, have people over, see new places. Are you a homebody or always on an adventure?
I’ve been inspired since my last post! Someone suggested I try a schedule in addition to my themed outings. I think that’s a great idea. And Ashby suggested I plan quiet time for the boys while Clara naps. They can stay in their room and read or play Legos or draw. She said she gets audiobooks for her seven year old at the library. Love that idea!! This pic was from our library day this week. And this is my three year old (who insisted on wearing a fancy Christmas dress) throwing a temper tantrum because she thought she was missing a book. Not sure you can see it, but the books she did have were thrown on the ground. Also, I highly recommend being the mom who can’t get her act together in the am and showing up at lunch when all the respectable moms are feeding their children. 😂 It’s empty then! 🙌
Instead of blogging
With all three kids home (and someone my attention every five minutes), sitting down for a block of time to write, photograph and edit a post is near impossible. And when I try it, I end up getting snippy with them for interrupting me. It doesn’t work.
So I spent more time on Instagram because it was quicker and easier than doing a blog post. It was fun! I met some new friends, learned some IG ins and outs, figured out I have no idea how to create “a following” and even started using the stories feature. You can see videos of what’s going on with my Italian in-laws, me explaining my faith posts and projects in the works.
Here is our low-key summer so far in pictures. One disclaimer though. If you just skimmed through the photos you might think our life is one peachy-keen smooth road, but it’s not. If you don’t read the captions, just know this summer has been a struggle for me. I’m pretty raw in them. Okay?
“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, 💰💰💰💰💰and the other fifty💰. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. 💕 Now which of them will love him more?” 💕 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Luke 7:41-43 . The longer I live and the more I learn of how dark I truly am, the more grateful I become! Mama raises her hand a little higher during worship, fights back tears during lyrics of freedom and KNOWS she doesn’t deserve it. I owed five hundred denarii, but the debt had been paid by Jesus. Do you know what it feels like to let go of your shame? Give it to him and he will wash you white as snow. Then you have to believe it, walk away from it and don’t look back. ✌
I’ve shared with you that I’m on the struggle bus of parenting lately (and thank you for your ideas and encouragement!). But I’m not going down with out a fight! I’ve implemented themed days of the week (museum, library, beach …), introduced quiet time during Clara’s nap 🤨, even tried taking turns with alone time out with each kid 🤷🏼♀️, but I was forgetting what my focus should have been. PRAYER!! 🙏 I’m shaking the gates of Heaven, praying daily and nightly for God’s joy and peace to fill up our house. At night I’ve been walking through each room praying for our interactions there. I go in the kids’ rooms and pray for their struggles, and that God would give Marcello and I His love, wisdom, strength and patience to be the parents He wants us to be. 💗 Two nights ago Luca woke up while I was praying beside his bed. He was sufficiently freaked out.🤣 Yesterday the kids were still bickering and not listening the first time, but by the evening they were playing outside for hours together building a fort!! 😮 #powerofprayer
I’m having a bit of mommy burnout. When the days run together and I haven’t been alone or untouched or not talked to or in a quiet room for weeks. Marcello sensed my desperation and sent me to my parents’ empty house yesterday. (I’m thinking the card I got him for Father’s Day might not be enough because he’s a hero. 🤔) Now I am completely ALONE without cartoons or anyone telling me that they’re hungry or bored or tattling. I’m going to stare at a white wall for hours to accomplish some needed sensory depravation! 😂 I’ve been honest here about my struggles as a stay at home mom. Sometimes I get texts or messages asking if I’m ok. (Don’t worry, I am. And I still think it’s worth it.👍) It would be easier and less risky to plop down a quote or funny story, but this is hard and maybe it would help someone else who has a strong-willed kid or is going through their own episode of mommy burnout. Its hard to know if other moms go through times like this. But if you are, know it’s not just you! Me too. But we’ll make it through. My new mantra: The joy of the Lord will be my strength! 💪 He alone gives me true everlasting, dependable, soulful joy. When I’m too tired to read my Bible sometimes I listen to it on my phone. Or put hymns on Pandora. Just to get those words of truth moving through my house and spirit. I started a grateful journal and am still serious about my nightly prayers for each child! Let me know if I can pray for your family too! #HMchoosejoy
Admire a cotton candy sunset. Smile at the light of the sun warming your skin. Treasure the laughter of children. Enjoy each bite of savory dinner that you have been given to eat. This earth is a shadow of what it was intended to be, but there are still shimmers from Heaven poking through. #HMchoosejoy ☀P.S. My beach tips and kids checklist is saved in my story highlights!
JOY is a gift and it is also a command. There are over 30 verses that tell us to rejoice! How sweet and loving that it His will for us is to be joyful. And he promises to equip us to do his will. (Hebrews 13:21) To put it plainly, we are in his will when we pray for joy, and when we pray within his will, the answer is always affirmative! (1 John 5:14–15) “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” — Psalm 32:11 #HMchoosejoy
Me: Will you put this container in recycling, please? Luca: What will you use it for? Me: Ummm, I don’t mean recycle like use again. I mean put it in the bin with the yellow lid. Luca: Oh. Nonno doesn’t waste anything. He uses those to plant things. 👨🌾 The boys are learning so much from their frugal, savy grandparents. Here he’s teaching them some gardening tips. He’s already growing a lot of his own produce after 2 months! And that’s not always easy in sandy Florida!
Flashback to Saturday night on a beautiful date instead of this slooooow Monday. 😑 The boys have been crazy today and lost the privilege to go to the kids museum. I carried fussy Clara out of the museum upside down because she was hungry. 🤷🏼♀️ Then she refused her nap so we had to drive her around until she went to sleep. One got his legos taken away for scratching his brother’s face. Lots of unkind words back and forth. I also threw alway all the nerf guns I could find when they weren’t looking. 😏No more warfare. I could go on but it’s depressing and you get the idea. Maybe we should plan a weeknight date too! #fivemoreweeksuntilschoolstarts
Last week I wouldn’t shut up about joy #HMchoosejoy — this week God’s building on top of it. 💕Gratefulness!💕 I started reading “One Thousand Gifts” by @annvoskamp and it’s just what I needed. My circumstances are not going to change anytime soon, so I have to. As Ann lists the small, beautiful, God-given gifts in her life, I start to do the same. “We only enter into our full life if our faith gives thanks,” she says. I’m missing so much beauty in my life, being distracted by self pity and waiting for something to change. No more! Time to retrain my brain. Today when the kids were squabbling instead of getting in the car, I said thank you Lord that we have a car and gas to go. When they were all in my way as I tried to cook, I said out loud, thank you Lord that we have food to eat and the kids love me so they want to be with me. When a new expense came up and all the money we thought we were saving would be gone, I said thank you Lord that you gave us the money in advance. I don’t want this to be an exercise. I want this to be the new me! Are you a grateful person or do you have to make an effort?
Since I’ve started focusing on being grateful the days are improving. My patience is increasing. My voice is staying within a normal speaking level (for the most part 😒). And I’m not dismissing every good gift I’ve been given. I mean I’m REALLY focusing on being grateful, naming specific things out loud, small and large. I’m not even saying prayers of request right now, only gratitude. What are you grateful for today? #HMchoosejoy
This is my father-in-law making homemade gnocchi. Our new tradition is a homemade Italian meal after church on Sundays all together. I love it! This weekend turned out pretty perfect. And if yours wasn’t and that’s annoying to read, just please know that we have had a lot of NOT-so-great weekends this summer with sad news or even just sitting around staring at each other and squabbling. But THIS weekend we had a wine tasting with friends, a barbecue with kids running every which way, church, old home movies on a projector (📽see my stories) and a super chill small group meeting. It was just enough to keep busy, but not so much that we couldn’t soak it in. We’ll get it perfect just in time for school to start. 😆🤦🏼♀️ How was your weekend?
Tell me about your summer!
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned or best book you’ve read?