Hey There Shiny!

Hey There Shiny!

By Gina Valley

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Hey There, Shiny! New Year Fresh Start

Shine

Which dark

To bright

Tiny candle

Small light

Heavy shadow

Weighs down

Flicker glows

Hope found

Time gone

Dark thine

Lit forth

Spark shine

-gina valley

 

I love a fresh start.

I love Mondays.  I love moving.  I love New Year’s.

Fresh starts are the best.  That feeling of a new beginning is so appealing to me.

We’re nearly a week into the New Year, and I’ve still got that giddy, new start feeling.  Granted part of that’s, because, as we’re currently traveling, I decided to start my New Year routine after I return home.  But, most of that feeling springs from the reminder that with effort, nearly anything is possible.

I like to use this time of year to remind my children that they were made with a purpose, to be part of great things, and that they matter and can make a difference.   This is a great time of year to encourage them to shine brightly, as they were created to do.

I hope you remember that’s true for you and your loved ones, too.

Love!

-gina

Do you find the New Year an encouraging time for a fresh start?  How are you shining this week?   Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Reaching Beyond…Gina’s Favorites

As I’m spending extra time celebrating with my family, today’s post is one of my favorites from the past.

Reaching Beyond…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

As we step in to a new year, may we all reach and stretch and strive beyond where we stand.

May we all reach for what can be and what we can be.

-gina

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Reaching Beyond…Gina’s Favorites New Year Hope

Beyond

Looking

Thinking

Pondering

Wandering

Ever wondering

Ever drawing

Ever will be

Running

Skipping

Seeking

There

-gina valley

What do you plan to do differently this year than you have in the past?  What do you plan to do the same?  Are you glad 2012 is ending or wishing there was more time?  Shoot me a comment.  I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Gift…Gina’s Favorites

Gift…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

As I’m spending extra time celebrating with my family, today’s post is one of my favorites from the past.

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Gift…Gina’s Favorites

 

Gift

Good news

Great joy

Mighty king

Tiny boy

Free gift

Priceless love

Adoration

From above

Shining wonder

Angels sing

Enduring hope

Peace He brings

-gina valley

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May you feel the Love of Christmas all through the year.

 

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

by Gina Valley

Sometimes the best things are the things you didn’t plan for.

Yesterday was set to be a nonstop, rush around try-to-do-everything-and-be-everywhere kind of day.  I had kids competing in 3 different sports tournaments in 3 different cities.  I’d had a doubly full week and still had a big pile to finish from it.

I made my schedule, stressing over only being able to see only part of each child’s tournament and needing to have perfect traffic conditions to do even that.  I live in Los Angeles.  Perfect traffic conditions are few and far between.

I charged my laptop and hotspot and prepared to get some work done during warm ups and half times.

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday The Best Laid Plans

It was a plan. A perfect plan. A perfectly stressful plan. But, what else is a Supermom to do?

She’s to throw all the planning out the window, whether she wants to or not.

That’s just what I did. I didn’t want to. I didn’t plan to. But, I had to.

When I rose to wake my children to begin our mad dash of a day, it was raining.  Not that lovely pitter patter that makes you think that winter is finally arriving and it’s time for hot chocolate and a good book.  The kind that makes you wonder if you need an ark.

I knew that rain spelled the end of my carefully diagramed and color coded plan.

Rain wouldn’t affect the tournaments.  One was a basketball tournament.  It’s held inside and they have heaters and sell hot chocolate. Two were soccer tournaments, and ankle deep water or marble sized hail won’t make soccer reschedule. Soccer is only cancelled if the field owner closes the fields or there’s lightening.  Neither of those was happening.

The rain triggered the end to my attempt to be everywhere because it removed any possibility of positive road conditions and my ability to get some work done on the sidelines.  Rushing on the roads in the rain is stupid and I refuse to do it.  My laptop doesn’t like to be wet, so it’d be staying home.

Time for a new plan.

We sent out a family contingent to each tournament, where they would remain for the duration of their assigned tournament.  No rushing to try to catch a game at one of the others.  No shuttling and juggling.  Just stay there.

I took my 12 year old to his soccer tournament.

I must say, it was an absolutely miserable day weather-wise.  But, at the end of the day, I realized it had been an absolutely glorious day relationship-wise.

I got to spend 12 hours one-on-one with my 12 year old.  Any parent of many will tell you that time with only one child is rare.  Twelve hours of it is almost unheard of.

For me, though, it was rarer than that.  You see, I can work anywhere.  That’s a blessing and a curse.  It allows me to be at kid-events that I would have to miss if I were tied to an office because I can work while I’m there, which I’m thankful for.  But, it also means that I have sometimes have to work while I’m at kid-events (or sit there feeling guilty, listening to deadlines flying by) even though I don’t want to.

But yesterday, thanks to the worst weather we’ve had in ages, I was isolated with my son with no possible way to work.  I was able to wholly focus on him, without feeling guilt from missing his siblings’ events or from pressing work obligations.

I never work while my kids are playing, but I usually do while their teams are warming up or off at halftime huddling around their coaches.  Yesterday, I was able to focus on watching my son during those “off” times.  Watching him goof around with his teammates reminded me what a joyful person he is.  He can find something to laugh about anywhere.  He had them all in stitches, even their stoic head coach.

In between games, instead of making the mad dash to get food, and then letting him run off to hang out with his teammates, the weather dictated that my son & I hang out in our van with the heater blasting after we got breakfast & hot chocolate.  We talked and giggled and even took a short power nap.  It was so nice that we repeated our break power nap later during the second break.

I got to spend what was going to be a rushed frazzled day, just hanging out with my kid, listening to his stories, seeing him in action, hearing him sleep.  He even gave me some career advice.

Yes it was cold and we were soaked.

Yes, they lost every game, some almost embarrassingly so.

Yes, I clearly suffered frost bite on my brain because we spent 2 hours in Costco on the way home.

But, being one-on-one with him for 12 hours was awesome.

I got something much better than my best laid plans.

Best.

Day.

Ever.

I hope your best laid plans get messed up, leaving something better in their wake, too.

Love!

-gina

Have you ever had a day where everything was right because everything went wrong?  Are you a “planner” or a “come-what-may’er”?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Pause

Pause

by Gina Valley

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Pause Peace Quiet Thoughts

Peace

Trouble flown

Breath savored

Thoughts quell

Harmony sings

Hush spreads

Calm flows

Tranquil grace

Beautiful still

-gina valley

 

There’s something beautiful about quiet.

It’s a rare thing in my life.  Probably in yours, as well.  Even without children and spouses and pets, our world is filled with noise and intrusions.   It’s hard to complete a thought with the constant interruptions.

We’ve learned to adapt, to make decisions and to carry on, in the midst of the chaos of life.  We have to.  Life rarely gives us a pause.

But, I need a pause.  We all need a pause.  So, we have to force ourselves to take it.

I love the feeling of peace in my house when I rise before everyone else.  I can almost taste the peace, as I breathe it in.  That’s one of the reasons I consistently rise before, not only my children, spouse, and neighbors, but also the sun.

My work is essentially putting thoughts to paper.   Well, thoughts to a word processor is, I suppose, more accurate.  I need that quiet for clarity.  Otherwise my mind feels like muddy water, and I’m unable to grasp the thoughts, much less hold on to them long enough to type them out.

Much as I need the quiet for work, I need it even more for me.  I need to have a quiet time daily to nourish my soul.

When my life feels too heavy and the weight starts to crush me, invariably I haven’t been having a quiet time.  I suppose, in a way that makes sense.  When I’m stressed because I’m extra busy, when I find myself well off the path, I’m less likely to take that 45 minutes to be alone to read The Word and to pray.  But, at the same time, it’s almost ridiculous that I don’t take that time, because when I am stressed and busy is when I need it most.

It never ceases to amaze me that I will fail to do what I know is best for me in the long run, so that I can deal with something of short term value.  Don’t tell my family I’ve admitted this, but I think I’m a bit hard headed.

This time of year has extra stress.  I need, you need, we all need to make it a point to take a pause daily, even if it’s just a short one.  We need to sit and listen to nourish ourselves.

We all have too much to do.  So, if we really want to get as much of it done as possible, we need to force ourselves to stop doing it, and to take a pause every day.

Give yourself that gift this season.  Take 30 minutes to sit quietly, alone, uninterrupted.  You’ll really be giving a gift to everyone in your life, because, not only will your pause of action set a valuable example, it will make you a better you.

Love!

-gina

Do you try to have a daily quiet time?  What do you think is the key to it?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I Know Something You Don’t Know

I Know Something You Don’t Know

by Gina Valley

 

Love

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday I Know Something You Don't Know

I stand alone and wait for you

Always

You are there

Thoughts of you sustain my breath

I am because of you

Tears come

You heal my soul

Joy springs

My spirit soars

Behind me trails of your beauty

Before me your light

Within me truth of you grows smiling

Hope flows through me

Always you

-gina valley

 

My eldest daughter is working through a case of the “it’s all about me’s” this weekend.  She was so upset about being required to, not only wash 4 of the pots in our kitchen sink, but to have to do it my way, that she announced that she wished she didn’t live with us at all.

I calmly walked her to our front door and shut it behind her.  I think she was surprised that I did so.  I was surprised I did it so calmly.

After some time alone on our porch, she decided that perhaps she had made a mistake, and came back in and apologized.  It wasn’t terribly heart felt, but that didn’t matter.  I’d forgiven her long before she apologized.

She didn’t know that, of course.

Later that night, she called me on her dinner break from the fast food giant where she works, in tears.  They were being mean to her and yelling at her and she was very upset.  She wondered if I would come and sit and talk with her during her break.  Of course I did.  There was no doubt I would be there.

She didn’t know that, of course.

There are a lot of things my daughter doesn’t understand about life and the world and a parent’s love.  She struggles because she doesn’t understand.  Someday she will understand because she struggled.

Her struggles remind me there’re many things I don’t know.  I know enough at this point in my life to be glad that I don’t know everything.

But, I’m glad for what I do know.  Love knows that Love goes beyond words.  That’s huge.

I wish my daughter understood me when I say, “I know something you don’t know.”  I wish she would truly hear what I’m telling her, so she would get to skip many of the struggles she has to deal with in life.

I’m sure God feels the same way about me.  He’s quite familiar with loving stubborn, rebellious children, too.

Love!

-gina

Is someone in your life showing off their gift of stubbornness this week?  How are you handling it?  Are you the stubborn one in your pack?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Remembering The Melody

Remembering The Melody

by Gina Valley

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Remembering The Medley Holidays

Song

You my lift burdens

And change my heart

You piece together memories

Long torn apart

 

You soothe my anger

And stir my guile

You bring me peace

For a precious while

 

You carry me

to faraway places

or deep into hearts

of familiar faces

 

You open my minds

And tickle my ears

You close my mouth

And bring me to tears

 

My heart is swelled

I can run

I can fly

No worries with you that life passes by

 

You take me to soar,

High, high above

You teach me of everything

Especially of Love

-gina valley

 

My 12 year old son is learning how to play the trumpet.

He loves it.  He loves everything about it, from the other kids in the band with him to his instructors to practicing at home.  He’s having a great time.

I’m glad he loves it.  I really am.

Most of the time.

My husband and I were both musicians when we were students.  We met through marching band when I was in college.  I’ve long held that it’s further proof of God’s sense of humor that none of our seven children has taken much interest in music.  Several have tried an instrument or 2, but my 12 year old is the first to really love it.

And, that’s wonderful.

Except for one little thing.

Now, I want to be supportive, and I am.  And, I want to be encouraging, and I think I am.  I even think I’m pretty helpful to him in his quest to conquer this brass beast.  But, along the road toward trumpeting Nirvana there are an awful lot of stops at “practice your scales at home-ville.”

Scales are important.  They teach the trumpet player’s fingers what to do and when.  They help the trumpet player’s lips learn the subtle changes necessary to produce the different notes.  Unfortunately, they also help the trumpet player’s family inch ever closer to the edge of sanity.

Knowing how much he loves playing the trumpet and hearing how he has improved each day he plays is wonderful.  But, and I will deny this if he ever asks, there is nothing quite as beautiful as the moment when he’s finished his practice session and silence rings through my home.  It’s like clouds parting and the sunshine spreading across the land after a tough winter.

This time of year is very much like listening to a trumpet player practicing his scales.

All of the preparation and planning for the many consecutive holidays, kids performances, church programs, impending family dramas, etc. all come at us non-stop, just like the notes in an oft repeated scale.

Over and over again.

We know what’s coming, but we are caught up in the onslaught every time.

But then, suddenly, it stops.

It could be because a student thanks us for being a friend.  It could be because we witness a stranger showing kindness to another stranger.  It could be because we choose to give or accept an apology.  It could be because we see our littles so happy just to be near us.

It can be triggered by countless different things.  But, the noise stops.

And, the “quiet” flows all through us.

We can “hear” again.  We notice the melody of celebration that had been buried in the noise of scales of the giant production of it all.

The “scales” of the holidays are necessary.  Truly, there is much to be done.  But, nonetheless, they are not the goal of the holidays.  Just as a professional trumpeter practices his scales to prepare, but performs a beautiful melody, we need to remember that our “scales,” our hustle and bustle and preparations are but a means to an end.

We all need to take time today and everyday throughout this holiday season (actually throughout the whole year, but that’s really a different column) to remind ourselves about the “melody” we are preparing for.

We need to daily force ourselves to take time to stop the scales and to “hear” the joy of the melody.

Don’t miss the Joy.

Love!

-gina

How do you ensure you and your family hear the joy and not just the noise during the holidays?  How do you get back on track when things hit a sour note?  Shoot me a comment.  You’re already here anyway & I’d love to hear what you think.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

I Envy The Clouds…Gina’s Favorites

I Envy The Clouds…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday I Envy The Clouds…Gina’s Favorites
Photo courtesy of J. Krueger – Used with permission

 

I Envy The Clouds

I envy the clouds

To float and fly

To follow the wind

or perhaps

more the whim

 

To change into anything

Anything

 

To have magic and strength in a gentle flask

Carrying life and cleansing

Beauty and mystery

Tether free

I envy the clouds

-gina valley

Ever want to float away?  What makes you feel free?  What weighs you down?  Shoot me a comment and tell me all about it.  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Not So Much A Day Of Rest

Not So Much A Day Of Rest

by Gina Valley

This has been a terrible day.

I like to think of Sunday as the day of rest, but if I’m totally honest with myself, I have to admit that often it’s anything but.

It’s the day when we run late to church, and I feel like a hypocrite for walking into the sanctuary after having screamed at my kids to get their butts in the car, because they were making us late (again), after already having screamed at them to get their butts out of bed, so that they would not make us late (again).

Poem Poetry Trees Humor Funny Humorous Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Kid Kids Child Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Grandpa Grandma Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Gina Valley Parenting Stillness Sunday Not So Much A Day Of Rest Stress Rest
Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

It’s the day when someone or some two or, like today, some three remember big projects that are suddenly due, despite having received the assignment weeks ago.

It’s a day when milk spilled and ran under all of the furniture, the dog jumped on the table and ate the bowl of chili, and our hamster died.

It’s the day when a ten minute assignment triggers a 4 hour full-blown-what-will-the-neighbors-think tantrum.

It’s a day when we realize our family room sofa is home to a giant ant colony.

It’s the day when vital items for outfits for the week are suddenly discovered in bedrooms unwashed, because someone or two or more didn’t bother to bring their laundry to the laundry room by the Friday evening deadline.

It’s the day when I am supposed to drop everything I had planned because a lack of planning on their part somehow is supposed to be an emergency on mine.

It’s day when it’s ever so easy to don my mom-the-martyr outfit and to descend into my dungeon of self-pity to sit on the dirt floor and feel sorry for myself.

I think Sunday should feel like a vacation, a day to recharge, a time to listen to The Still, Small Voice, as it provides me guidance for my life.

Today, it felt like a day in prison.

Getting my skin peeled off.

While being sprinkled with salt and lemon juice.

I might be exaggerating a tiny bit.  But, we are out of ice cream, so maybe not.

It’s hard to hear The Still, Small Voice trying to guide me when I’m screaming and my kids are whining and the dogs are barking and my husband is growling.

Sometimes (honestly, a lot of times), the day of “rest” is more the day of “I want to run away from home and lie on a deserted, tropical beach.”

But, I won’t run away.  I’ll stick it out.  I’ll try to make things better, calmer, smoother.

Besides, I’d probably have to wash a beach towel before I could run away to that tropical beach anyway.

Love!

-gina

Does the day of “rest” ever make you want to turn it into the day of “run away from home?”  How do you keep the calm and diminish the chaos?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.