Pesto Goodbye

Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Memorial Day, I made pesto. 

I've probably made it before. I really can't remember. On Monday, it felt momentous. 

I went out to my overgrown basil plant and relieved some of its burden. We have intentions for a garden next summer. For now, there is basil in a pot. Rosemary is in another pot, and tomatoes are in the ground nearby. It is enough for now.

I came back inside and looked up the pesto recipe . . . pine nuts. I definitely don't keep those on hand. I considered bailing, then remembered my husband's long-standing offer to help me, if only I will ask.

Easy enough. (I'm going to do that more often.)

I searched high and low for the parmesan. Finally found it in the way-back of the fridge. I used the nice olive oil that my friend brought back from Italy, because I'm out of everything else. I made do with McCormick's minced garlic instead of fresh. (Then found fresh garlic, later. Of course.)

I switched over the laundry and told the boys to turn up How It's Made because the food processor was about to get loud. 

And while I was processing, the deafening whir allowed me to hear the thoughts in my head. It is what I have heard many times in the noise of the last few weeks, "I am out of ideas." 

I feel spent over blogging. I am craving privacy, perhaps in an effort to adjust to the way my life is now. My kids are older. I'm not as lonely as I once was. Our days are full in ways that they just weren't before. Things have changed since I started this blog four years ago. I have changed.

So. I made pesto. And I've probably done it before - but never in such an impulsive, improvised way. In the past, this would have been thought-through. The ingredients would have been part of my detailed, coupon-clipped grocery list. No help required. In the past, I might have planned on blogging about it and taken pictures throughout the process. 

Now, the photo was an afterthought. I liked the green color. Now, the joy was simply finding the time to make it. There was satisfaction in cobbling the ingredients together with help from my husband, especially when he "oohed" and "aahed" over the end product. It felt worth it just to have done it, because it's no longer something I can hypothetically do on any given Monday anymore. Now, on most Mondays, I'm at the office in the morning, and parenting big, talking, non-napping, homework-doing, sports-playing boys in the afternoon. Things have changed. My time in the kitchen, my time at home, is shifting. Now, more than ever, I appreciate the chance to impulsively cook from scratch . . . but I'm glad that such times and opportunities are becoming unusually precious. I'm okay with the evolution. And that's a revelation.

The good news is this: A Work in Progress has delivered me to the place where I need to be. It was part of a raft that I made when I found myself on the banks of young motherhood. It was scary. I didn't know who I was or what I was supposed to be doing. Writing, connecting with you in big and small ways, helped so much. SO much. Now, I've arrived at a place with a slightly different looking life. It feels right to step off the raft. I might push it back out at some point. But for now, I'm walking away.

Thank you for riding with me. Thank you for traveling the "who am I now?" road all the way to here. I pray that, along the way, you too have found God at work in your life, leading the way. This verse is what started A Work in Progress, and this is what it's always been about:

"For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life." Ephesians 2:10 NRSV

May God bless you on your journey, Courtney

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I Didn't Mean to Go Cold Turkey

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm popping back in to say, "Hello!" and "Gee, things have been hectic," and "I said May is Cray," and "That's my excuse for dropping off the face of the bloggy-verse."

I've got a couple of things planned for this space between now and summer, but honestly, I'm heading towards a real summer break. Like a not-blogging-at-all break. I'm at that point where my brain is so full, I'm jotting notes to myself on scraps of paper, wherever they may lie:
 - VBS email
 - Print photos
 - Tball snacks
 - HSA contribution
 - Babysitter
 - Coffee, soap, peanut butter

And that's just what I found on the kitchen counter. You get it. You're there, too. I know. Let's do the silent nod of understanding. It's just that time of year . . . 

Which has been great. Busy - yes, of course - but these are good days. Let's not forget that in the rush.

I'm going to leave you with two of my favorite pictures from the last few days. This one is my oldest at his first piano recital. My sister-in-law took it, and I love it.
If you're ever discouraged about the state of the world, attend a recital and listen to young people play classical music. Listen to them perform pieces they've memorized and worked on for months. It will restore your faith.

Then there's this:
The one on the end in the striped shirt is my youngest. This was after his preschool graduation, and I love the joy on these boys' faces. These buds have been together since they were toddlers. Friendship is a grand gift.

So, persistence and friendship. These are just two of the gems that have come out of this "busy" time. I'm grateful, and I'm savoring. 

And I will be back with more, later.

Speaking of friendship . . . Linking up for the last time and excited about what is in store for her:

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Advice on Raising Boys

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I wrote this for a friend who will have her first boy soon. I thought I might share it here. I had so much fun finding pictures to go with it. 

Some Unsolicited Advice From Your Friend With Boys

Boys have a reputation of being rough and tumble, loud, messy and wild. Most are, most of the time. 

But what I’ve learned in my 7+ years of being a boy mom is that boys are surprisingly tender and sensitive.

You never know what might make them cry. They can go from tough to skirt-clinging in the blink of an eye.

They need loads of approval and reassurance, right along with tons of discipline. They need to be heard, chased, and snuggled.

You are going to be a great boy mom. And your son is going to be one lucky boy.
What have you learned about raising boys? Any of it surprising?

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Opportunity Overload

Monday, May 5, 2014

One thing I've noticed, now that I'm working outside the home more, is that I have less time for blogging and social media networking. 


When I had more time (and was seriously considering "taking my blog to the next level") I didn't know where to start. I fell like I was in an opportunity wasteland. Now, I see how I could make a real go of it, but I just don't have the time I'm choosing to spend my time in other ways. The fact that I now feel like I am in a season of opportunity overload, feels a bit ironic. It feels a bit, "Really? REALLY??"

Take yesterday, for example. My friend Angie, brought the Listen To Your Mother show to Charleston. I could have auditioned to be a part of it. I didn't. Instead, I told Angie I would help, and I took tickets at the door. It was great. I'm glad I was there, and I enjoyed watching. I especially enjoyed meeting Abby. I did not feel envious of those on stage. (Promise.) But there it was . . . Opportunity.

Also on Sunday, The Influence Network had a meet up less than a mile from my house. (This falls into the Really? Really?!? category.) I had no excuse not to go, other than my prior commitment to Listen to Your Mother, the inability to clone myself, the gorgeous day outside, the fact that my husband and kids were at the pool, a long list of household duties that always await, etc., etc. Opportunity Overload.

I'm viewing this as an opportunity to learn a lesson: I don't have to gulp it all down. It is okay to let some opportunities pass me by. I can't be a professional everything. I have to remind myself that it's okay for this blog to just be a hobby. It's okay for me to simply occupy a tiny corner of the social media universe. It's okay for me to not know every local creative. It's okay for me to not have even heard of the blogger you love. I can't keep up with everything, and I will miss out on this that and the other thing. 

That's okay. Because in our culture where anyone can hypothetically be anything, we can't be everything. At least, I can't. I am reminded that I am faced with a choice: every time I say yes to one thing, I am inevitably saying no to something else.

Remembering that can make the times I have to say, "Yes," or "No," (or, "Not now,") much, much easier.

Maybe I'm not alone in meeting that reminder? Maybe you, too, need a little encouragement, when it comes to sticking with the life choices you've made? How do you handle seasons of Opportunity Overload?

Linking with friends at Soli Deo Gloria today.

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Friday Benediction - If At First You Don't Succeed,

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sometimes, that's all you need to do. Especially in May :)

Happy Weekend, Friends.

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May is Cray

Monday, April 28, 2014


May can make me feel just like that. It's December all over again, except those presents aren't for my kids. They are for their teachers. And our babysitter who is graduating. (Tears!! Don't go!!) A niece going through confirmation, Mom (don't forget Mother's Day), the kids' tennis instructor, and so on and so forth. 

Not that I'm actually buying gifts for all these occasions, but I feel like I should. The nagging guilt is there.

Then we have the end of the school year events crowding the calendar. Parent luncheon, recitals, May Day, Field Day, Find-any-reason-to-bring-parents-to-school Day. Not that I'm not right up there in the front row recording it all. I am. Just don't expect me to be very productive at work or have square meals on the table every night this month. 

It's almost May. I'm looking at the calendar, the papers to be signed, and the lists, and I'm having a hard time slowing down my brain. It's getting harder for me to see the larger picture. Seems like a good time for me to pause, focus on the compass of my life, and go back out there with an unhurried, genuine smile on my face. 

That's not easy to do. It's easier for me to get snarky and all caught up. It's easier for me to default to rush and stress. But the world doesn't need more snark. Certainly no more rush or stress.  I don't need it, my family doesn't need it. So I pause, and look for something better.

My compass, my God, reorients me. I open my Bible and find this:

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

That's what I need: peace. My prayer is that I remember to slow down, seek it, and find it in May.
Is May going to be crazy busy for you? How do you find peace?

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Friday Benediction: Unpersuasive Travel Agents

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, and my pencil is giving off sparks with all the underlining. One of my favorite passages so far:

We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of knowing Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.

Ah, that last phrase! I love it. 

May we, instead, be seasoned passport-stamped travelers, passionately inviting others on the journey. 

Happy Weekend, Friends. 

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