It Takes a Village!

The phrase, “it takes a village” is still alive and well in my world. How about yours!? Being a parent it tough. Being a working parent is crazy. Being a single parent….hats off to you! Raising children is demanding and I couldn’t do it without my village.

So for a second, I want to give a shout-out to my village. I got to run today after school, like by myself. Why? Because Anna was with a friend. Before I hopped in the shower, I got a text from this friend with a video clip of our goofy girls running along the soccer field. This friend, mom to one of Anna’s closest friends, picks up Anna once a week from school. She makes sure she can eat the foods they have checking the ingredients and labels. She makes social studies questions up so that they can study for tomorrow’s test together. AND, if one of them misses a question, they all run. How creative is that!? I’m telling you, she’s ‘winning’ the mom-award this week!

This is one example and one person but I feel so grateful for my whole village. There are so many folks that would take Anna or Brody in a heartbeat, that do take them and don’t hesitate to do us a favor. There are tons of people who love and nurture them like their own. Our neighbor-friends, our school friends, our family friends, my friends/their friends/our friends!…..I am so grateful for this support system! And if you’re reading this, chances are that you are also a part of our system. It’s a system that allows us to work and thrive.

You love us, take care of us, and have been there for us through the toughest times. What would we do without friends?! I know that I couldn’t function but I also know that this type of love and friendship makes my children who they are. I’m not the only one molding them; they have other adults and friends that they trust and they feel valued by. Isn’t that a gift?

Every day , I hear about children and parents who do not have this help or support, parents who feel isolated, stressed, and hopeless. Children who feel like ‘don’t fit in’. To those who wrap their arms around us, we recognize and value you. To those who don’t have this support, reach out. We all need help and support sometimes (or a lot of time if you’re like me!). Not only does it make our lives easier but it also makes our children happier. Thank you, village.

That’s all.


Good husband award

All day long, I could brag on my children. They make me happy and proud every day.  I spend a lot of Facebook feeds showcasing them and writing about them as their proud mama. Like y’all, I have thousands of pictures of them on my phone because they make me happy! I just can’t imagine not having them in my life.

However, today I am thanking and showcasing my sweet husband, Bo Hamilton. It’s been rough going back to working more than full-time. The first month of school is always tiring but it’s been busier than ever. This means ‘summer Sarah’ is long gone and stressed, tired, and grumpy Sarah is back full force. But, Bo knows to expect this pattern and has grown to accept it.

He’s been up making lunches and cooking breakfast. He’s been texting with Kristen to work out the middle school carpool. He’s been driving to and from soccer practices, taking to every doctor appointment, and cleaning the kitchen. And today for the best-husband-day-yet, he not only did all the morning routines, but he also rushed to clean and refloor the laundry room before the new washer and dryer that he carefully picked out was ordered were delivered. That’s on top of delivering a gift out to a grandmother in Farragut and (the best yet) surprising me with this amazing canvas gift for my room at school made by the lovely and talented Karen Lampley! What a perfect surprise at the end of a not-so-great day.  canvas

Now while this is an above average day for Bo Hamilton, he’s a great dad and supportive husband. I cannot imagine what life would like without him, to be a single parent. 

Just this week, I have had a tearful child talk to me about their mother who disappeared from his life years ago. There was the seven-year old boy who has had both his mother and father die in shootings within the past couple years (his mother was shot in a robbery at his house). Then, there was the precious girl today who’s dad told her on the phone that he had moved to another state and she doesn’t know when she’ll see him again. And, don’t forget about the weekly check-in with a boy who was removed from his home last year; his mom is in rehab again this week. This short list doesn’t even include the large percentage of children in my small groups who do not see their fathers because they are with other women and new babies. Nuclear families with two healthy parents is not the norm for many children, and it’s hard.

This week, a teacher did an incredibly eye-opening activity in her class where students agreed or disagreed with a statement like, ‘I like chocolate ice cream’ . Move to one side of the room if you agree, and the other side if you disagree. On the fly, she asked  ‘I think to be a man means you tell women what do to and are in charge of women.’ Three boys went to the ‘yes’ side of the room and 2 stood in the middle of the room, conflicted. Eye-opening…. What a great conversation piece because many children are not getting the modeling that men are consistent, nurturing, respectful, and supportive to their wives and children.

On days like today especially, I am grateful to have a spouse that does more than pay the bills. Today, I recognize and appreciate the modeling that my children are getting. Not only does it make my life better, it’s making more of a difference to Anna and Brody and their futures, in family norms and a marriage. My children witness the balance of power and what love really looks like. Love is an action.

We don’t have a perfect marriage or a perfect family but I know the difference it makes for children to have two parents loving them in different yet consistent ways. It’s evident in children who don’t. Today, I thank you, Bo Hamilton!

Hamilton Family May 2018-179.jpg

One Day

This first full week of school has hit like a ton of bricks. The honeymoon is over. By Friday, the littles were crying missing their moms. The kids and teachers are already getting sick. The teachers are already referring to the School Counselor (me!). And, we are already way more tired than we should be at this point in the school year. Every year, it seems to get busier and busier as the needs of our children grow.

We can’t just expect them all to sit calmly like robots anymore absorbing information. They don’t all come to school with their supplies and backpacks. Not everyone’s summer was filled with fabulous beach trips. Many children are thrilled to be back at school but the newness fades quickly, while the unrest bubbles below the surface. There’s no running from the stress. And sometimes, it can feel like it’s just too much.

  • Kids who were abused this summer
  • Children who didn’t get to see their mom or dad all summer
  • Students who just don’t like school because it’s too hard

I’ve heard a lot about the above this past week and half of school. And even if you don’t work in a high-needs school, working with children is exhausting. It tests your patience. It demands 100%. It’s game-on all of the time. Teachers and educators work hard for the money, and it never slows down.

And, being a parent is just as demanding too. So, if you are a parent, teacher, or counselor (which comprises 99% of my blog readers), I know you are tired! You’ve had a hectic week. There may have been tears shed, threats made, or voices raised, and we will do it all again!

While on the jog I forced myself to take this morning, I too was tired. But, the more tired my aging legs got, the louder I turned up the music. It was towards the end of my run that this great song came on. It reminded me of this video that I played last spring for some classes at Pond Gap that had ‘won’ the Kindness challenge.

With this last song came many emotions and I found myself getting tearful on the Lakeshore trail (Y’all know it’s been a long week when your jog turns into a cry!). I thought of a friend’s son about to start radiation and his terminal diagnosis. This family has been on my mind all the time. And, then I thought …..

Every single one of us will die someday.

Some lives are shorter than others. Many times we can’t control what happens to us. Often times, life seems unfair. Many wonderful people get their unfair share of disappointments and challenges. And, it would be easy to get caught up in hopelessness.

But as hard as it is,  our children need us to believe that life is good, and can be even better than good. Our babies need us to tell them that life will hard but also so rewarding, fun, and full. Like the song says:

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
One day we´ll all be free
And proud to be
Under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like
Gotta hold on
Livin life day by day
Gotta hold on
Put your focus on that one day

To live fully, we must live with hope. It’s hard. It takes perseverance. It takes mindfulness. It demands energy. And mostly, it requires love. Whether you’re a teacher doing way more than getting through your standards or you’re a parent doing your best to provide a balance of support, structure, and nurture to your child, this is the day to believe in our kids. This is the day, the only day, that we know we have. This and every day is the ONE DAY to love our children and show them how to live with kindness.


While interviewing over 150 students this week at school, I noticed many children responded to the question, “Do you think bullying is a problem at this school?” with a ‘yes’. I finally just began asking a question that wasn’t on my list, “What do you think would change this?”. The response was simple. And, the answers are the real standards that I’ll be teaching this year. “They just need to learn how to be nice and do nice things.” 

‘One day’…..but in the meantime, let’s work on that one day.

Have a restful weekend, and thank you all the teachers who are doing way more than teaching math or ELA.  School is hard, so is life. But, living without hope is way harder.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing

The school list that every student needs.

When we read about school shooters, do you ever read, “What grades did he make?”. No, it’s more like did he have friends, did he have hobbies, and did he have a mental illness? What was his family like? Did he live in his family’s basement? Did he belong to hate groups? Did he fit in? Were there signs? What we don’t hear a lot about their grades because his social/emotional health is what is being evaluated.

Yet, this faucet of our children’s development has been overlooked for years in many public schools. With rising academic pressures, there has been less and less time for the arts, physical activity, free play, and social emotional learning in schools. There’s no time for downtime or simple conversations because those don’t fit into the master schedule or curriculum. Yet, this aspect of human development is fundamental in building connected, happy human beings who will have balance, focus, and long-term success.

The word success often is applied to grades and academic gains in school. However, this school year I’d like to challenge every student to be successful with relationships, internal drive, and reaching personal goals. Instead of hyper-focusing on getting the best grades, I’d like to challenge my children to put their focus on being a nice friend and polite student who wants to learn. I want them to put effort into making good choices while also thinking of and helping others. That is true success that really matters in the end. It’s not perfect grades.

So, while we’re doing our back-to-school shopping this year, rushing around the isles of Target, remember this. The color of your binder won’t get you a best friend. The Crayola markers won’t make you popular. The perfect pencil won’t make the grade. And, the monogrammed backpack doesn’t make you cool. (All things we do, by the way!). In this society, we can be guilty of getting caught up in superficial things while neglecting the most fundamental needs.

The list of school ‘supplies’ that every child really needs this year:

  • 5 new items to donate to another kid
    • Sponsor a child. Buy a new backpack, new shoes, new socks, or even new school supplies for a child in need. Most inner-city schools gladly accept donations (Pond Gap Elementary is close!) Or, you can email and they can pick-up the supplies for Western Heights by the first week in August.
  • 4 big personal goals for the school year
    • Setting personal goals is an important life skill and good habit, and I’m not just talking academic goals. Make a new friend. Try a new after-school activity. Run for Student Council. Be on time for school every day. After the first couple weeks of school, goals should be set. Helping kids think through realistic, yet challenging and attainable goals will bring a sense of pride and confidence that creates a leader.
  • 3 good friends
    • Explain that they don’t need to strive to be the most popular kid in the school or have the most friends, changing to get others to like you. One handful of true, loyal friends is all one needs to be happy. Talk about how to make friends and especially how to keep friends.
  • 2 random acts of kindness a day
    • Challenge your child to do 2 kind acts a day. The simple act of being aware of others creates empathy. It’s as easy as letting someone else go first, or inviting a lonely kid on the playground to play. Incorporate this into your nightly dinner conversation.
  • 1 great first impression with teachers and classmates
    • This means the first week of school is the time to smile, practice introductions, and getting to know others. This means making eye contact, following first request with adults, asking new friends to play, and showing interest and kindness towards others. You have one shot to make a first impression. Be friendly and kind and life becomes easier.

When thinking about those first-day outfits and shiny, new supplies, also keep in mind the stuff that will really make a difference this school year, and in life. It’s easy to get caught up in superficial supplies, and sometimes even superficial friends, that really won’t make the year. Friendships, good character, strong work ethic, kindness, humility, honesty, and respect will lead to the type of success that will last for years to come! After all, no one remembers what their report card looked like in 4th grade, but we all remember who our best friend was.


And, keep it real! Click here for: More back-to-school tips for teachers!


Livin’ the dream

Teachers and educators,

You have to admit that this time of year, we really love our job! No alarms. Long lunches. Time to read new books. Working in the garden. Sun. Time and energy to exercise. Friends. Vacations. Sleep! -Time-.

It’s our rejuvenation time. And, as a mom, I love it. Tons, and tons of time with my kids. No camps. No schedule. No rushing. Just time.

So this evening while I was starting laundry, I found Anna like this. In the middle of the hallway, she was video taping her baby (again). She loves to make videos, all kinds. Slime, babies, makeup, singing….the typical 9 year old stuff. It’s her own little reality that she can erase and redo day after day.20180710_193611.jpgIt was just a few minutes earlier that I’d been bragging to my mom on the phone about the run I had with the kids. I suggested it to Brody so that he can start getting back in shape for soccer. Believe it or not, a dark, cool room and Fortnite don’t really help your heart or lungs, and soccer is starting back up! (Pause to say that I still feel like it’s a miracle that he can play soccer after not one but two brain tumor resections in the cerebellum…..really awesome). But, we need to ease back into shape and running will help. He didn’t fight this suggestion. In fact, he seemed excited to go for a run at the hottest part of the day around 5:30. But, Anna didn’t want to stay alone for that short time and insisted on joining us. So, we all did one slow, hot mile.

20180710_172853That makes me happy. So while sharing this small success with mom, I also was telling her about Brody’s early morning MRI tomorrow. Anna insists on going. It’s a lot of waiting around at the hospital, and then more waiting while we visit the neurosurgeon’s office for his appointment. But, she really wants to go, and I suspect that’s because since Brody’s recent surgery, she has decided that she wants to be a nurse!

For years, she has wanted to be a teacher. And, she has practiced hours upon hours in her school room. But, suddenly after observing the sweet, young nurses in action at ETCH, she’s had a change of heart. And, we do think she’d be a good nurse! She’s responsible, diligent, and super nurturing.

So, it makes me even happier catching her practicing. Nana had just said she could see her in the NICU, and I walked upstairs 5 minutes later to find her measuring Lily and recording the data. Livin’ the dream!20180710_184347

We all have our dreams. Some dreams are grand. Some are so simple, yet just as satisfying. Here’s to celebrating it all. Short, hot runs. Baby dolls in the hallway. And, time. We love it all, don’t we!?



Failing, and it’s kind of fun!

Parenting is tough. The job is around the clock. It brings unexpected twists and turns. It tries your every last nerves, and challenges you to put others first while being a role model who stays on your toes. We want to be tough and have boundaries, while also being fair….but not too nice because we don’t want to be their best friend either. Like Goldilocks, it’s gotta be just right. That can be hard and definitely tiring……

….Which is why I’m ‘failing’ a little bit. Typically, I reflect on good practices, good choices, and ‘winning’ at life. However, this summer has been filled with a little more wiggle room, a lot more sleep, even more laziness, and some bending of good choices! Yesterday while leaving Starbucks, I realized this when Anna was slurping down a decaf- caramel Frappuccino for the first time.

Image result for caramel frappuccino

We go to Starbucks periodically, and we have a for years starting this bad habit early. Often, she opts for a chai tea (yes, she has always loved unusual 40-year-old women things)! Yesterday, however, I opened a whole new door when I explained that she could indeed get the sugar-laden, but insanely delicious Frappuccino made with decaf. She loves coffee flavored things and she absolutely freaked over this drink, finishing it before we even arrived at home for me to take a picture.

When we were leaving Starbucks, Anna and I with our overpriced, super unhealthy drinks in hand, she grabbed my hand and said, “You’re the best mom ever.” Bad choices= happy kids.

It made me think about other bad choices I’ve made as a parent, bad habits we accept. Take for example that Anna got her first pedicure before she even entered kindergarten. Now, I know this is ridiculous. I was in high school or maybe even college before I got my first pedicure yet here I was taking cute, little girly Anna to pick out her polish when she was a tiny squirt. She loved it then and now I basically don’t go without her!……another parenting fail.

Then, there’s Brody and food. (And, Bo is just as responsible for this fail as much or maybe more). The kid is picky, like super-duper picky. Yes, we know that you should not feed your children different foods than the adults. Yes, we have read that they’ll eat when they’re hungry. Yes, we know that white pasta isn’t a healthy carb yet we have been failing at this habit for years. The kid simply never has and never will just eat because he gets hungry enough. He’s skinny and food just isn’t important to him ( don’t understand how he’s our child!). So what have we done? Catered to him.

King Brody gets something different to eat about 75% of the time, which is progress because it used to be 100% of the time. And while my rational brain knows this is simply not the best habit, we have made this choice because he eats. Much like when he was a baby and we cuddled him every night, in our bed or laps never putting him down because he would scream. We kept him happy. And what does he still do now? He’s a cuddler! (not a fail)

Then, there’s the Fortnite obsession that even this mama gave into this spring after much deliberation. Now this full-on addiction has infiltrated our house and my 45-year-old husband plays daily too! He verifies that it’s addictive (duh) but also very strategic. And while I worried most about the violence at first, it’s really the amount of time that concerns me most. There’s always another loooong round. But, wow do boys love this social game!

Image result for fortnite obsession

Now this fail has actually provided some really good leverage and motivation at our house. I’ve conditioned Brody to have to do his 2 chores and reading before he can start Fortnite. So, he’s read a lot this summer! I’d still be waiting at bedtime if it weren’t for Fortnite. In fact, he loves those new skins so much that for the first time in his life, he has asked to do poop-duty when it’s not his week to earn money. So maybe these fails aren’t really so bad.

When thinking about our parenting fails, it makes me realize that we all fail sometimes. Sometimes, it’s a parenting fail. Sometimes, it’s a personal fail. But, it makes us realize that we are human. It also makes me think that ‘failing’ is kind of fun too, and we do all need some fun in our life! I want to be healthy as much as the next person, but maybe some of these unhealthy, ‘bad’ choices aren’t so bad either. Or, maybe like me, you need to loosen up a little! Like parenting, life is a balancing act. Allow yourself to ‘fail’ a little in order to win.

Let them drink the Frappuccino, play some Fortnite, sneak a little Coke, and stay up a little past bedtime because before we know it, they’ll be grown and making their own choices! Have fun within reason. Allow for imperfection. And, maybe even enjoy ‘failing’ or simply making some poor choices every now and then!






20 Easy Summer Outings for Family-Fun!

The saying, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, certainly seems to pertain to summer. Before you know it, it will be August. Days will become more rushed, while schedules will quickly fill up. The wonderful thing about summer break is that we have more freedom to choose what to do. So while we have this precious free time, let’s fill it up with memories, friends, and exploration.

There’s actually a lot of fun to be had in and around Knoxville. Swim teams and camps are already in full swing at this point. Vacations have been planned. Lessons have been scheduled. Teams have been formed. And while all these structured opportunities are wonderful, often preferred by some, there are also a lot of amazing, free opportunities for fun and exploration right in our back yard.

We should seize this season and schedule quality time with our children. Knoxville actually offers a lot in terms of family outings but most of us have had our share of the Zoo or Jump Jam. So, here is a list of inexpensive, free, or just simple things to do with your kids before life gets crazy again. Skip the chaos and keep things simple with:

·        Mead’s Quarry at Ijams Nature Center: You can rent paddleboards, canoes, take your own, or just go for a dip.

·        Ijams Nature Center: There’s some learning to do inside, special educational opportunities on their calendar, and lots of simple hikes, as well as movie nights. But, the sunflowers along the Forks of the River are out of this world!

·        Navitat at Ijams: This adventure ropes course does cost money but it’s a pretty setting to face your fear of heights. $

·        Frozen Head State park (Morgan county): Home of the Barkley Marathon, this is a great trail for hiking with dogs and kids while also getting a little wet by the series of small waterfalls.

·        Bald River Falls (Tellico): Take a day trip to Tellico Plains to eat in the adorable bakery and snap some amazing photos by the large falls. You can hike as little as you like because you basically drive right up and park at the falls (if you can get a parking spot!).

·        Big South Fork (Oneida): If you don’t mind a little drive (plan on 1.5 hours), there are wonderful camping and hiking options in this less crowded park. Check out the natural arches on the Twin Arches trail or a great view on Angel Falls overlook.

·        House Mountain: This is such great option if you don’t want to drive far and want a nice vista without investing a lot of time. The parking area gets full on the weekends, though.

·        Big Ridge State Park (Maynardville): This quiet park not too far away offers swimming and fishing in Norris Lake. There are 15 miles of peaceful hiking trails.

·        The downtown Farmer’s Market (Saturdays): It’s grown in popularity but it’s an easy Saturday morning to stroll with a fresh cup of coffee or homemade pastry.

·        WDVX Blue Plate Special: Monday-Fridays at 12, there are free concerts at the Knoxville Visitor’s Center on Gay Street. It’s a fun way to surprised by some free music!

·        Trolley ride: It’s free and fun just to ride the trolley around our growing downtown. When the kids are little, any moving vehicle is fun so jump on board!

·        Baker Creek Preserve: Grab your mountain bikes and helmets and check out this mountain biking course close by. Although some trails are not for beginners, there is a small loop for kids. And, you can always grab a bite at SoKno Taco afterwards!

·        Rainforest Adventure (Pigeon Forge) : If you are willing to brave the roads and want a day filled with animals but have used out your zoo pass, kids love this place. $

·        Sunsphere: It is free to tour the Sunsphere and kids think it’s pretty cool! While you’re there, make sure they have their bathing suits because the fountains on the lawn are a blast too.

·        Maple Lane Hall and the Phoenix Pharmacy: If you are willing to spend some money, an afternoon bowling downtown and authentic (delicious and expensive) ice cream treats are appreciated by all! $

·        Central Filling Station: This food park off Central Ave. is pretty hip. With a variety of food trucks and even adult beverages, it’s a pretty fun place to grab some grub if it’s not too hot. You can even bring your dogs! $

·        School of Rock concerts: School of Rock is a music studio in West Knoxville for kid rockers. Throughout the year, and especially during the summer, they offer lots of concerts that showcase their stars. It’s cute, cool, and impressive all at the same time!

·        Painting with a Twist: Sure, this is nothing new but did you know that you can make your own class? If you have a small group of family or friends, they will make a class for you. You choose the theme and people, and they’ll provide the paint. It’s a creative way to bond. I like the one downtown. $

·        Humane Society of Tennessee Valley (Bearden Hill): Until recently, I had no idea that you could get your fix of cuddling puppies even if you’re not adopting….just be prepared that you might fall in love.

·        River Rats (Townsend): When it gets just sweltering hot, floating down the creek on a tube is not the worst idea. With a group of friends, you can make a day of it! $

This summer, think outside the box! Grab a friend. And, try something new with your family. Vacations are great but ‘staycations’ can be too! Experiencing something new together makes for great memories, inside and outside of East Tennessee. And, we all get in a rut sometimes so I’m sharing some of my family’s favorites. Hope you venture out and experience something new this summer too.



God’s Plan

We survived D.C.! Wow, it was a lot. A lot of kids. A lot of chaperones. A lot of tour guides. A lot of police and nurses. A lot of buses. A lot of sightseeing. A lot of smiles. A lot of memories. It was A LOT!dc5

We are wiped out, the kids and adults. But, was it worth it? I wasn’t sure the first day after that painfully long bus ride and sweltering hot Manassas. Brody almost passed out. The nurses came and we had to go sit inside the museum after his lips turned white. It wasn’t the best start to our trip, yet we pushed on.

And, yes, it was worth it. As I have talked about many times, especially recently, friends make life better. These kids, including my own, just want to be with their friends. Whether it be at the Capital or (better yet) in their hotel room, they are just happy being with their friends. The experiences just grow richer when shared.



He didn’t talk to me a lot on the trip, as in as little as possible, because he just wanted to hang with his friends! But, the second day, we opted out of the trip to Mt. Vernon. After taking our first Uber in D.C., we had a really good meal at the hotel restaurant just the two of us (I kind of loved that.). He had to talk to me then! I tried not to hover too much on the trip, despite worrying about how he felt 100% of the time. (I thought I was pretty balanced in giving him some space, but he probably begs to differ!)

He wanted (and wants) a little space so while I know a lot of what went on, I also did make an effort to back off. Unbeknownst to me, Brody must have been listening to Drake’s popular song, God’s Plan,  at some point. Maybe it was on the hours we spent on the bus, or maybe it was at the “party” we let them have at the hotel because they had been so good! Regardless, when we arrived at home-sweet-home last night with the juicy burger that I’d been craving, we anxiously hopped out of the car. He was excited to be home and was talking more than I’d heard him within the past 4 days,

He turned to me before we came into the house and said, “There’s a new song I like, God’s Plan. We should have played that the morning of the surgery.”

I’ve been hearing this song on the radio some but I just pulled up this video this morning. -Tears-


…..Tears because Brody believes his brain tumor is part of “God’s plan” and somehow came to that conclusion along this trip. Tears because he got to go on this trip. Tears because he will have his 3rd and final physical therapy session today. And, also tears because if you watch this video, you see what God’s plan is, giving back to others because we are part of one big community and family. Good stuff.

We go back in less than a month for a follow-up MRI. If you are a part of our community, please pray there shows no growth and confirmation that there is no longer a tumor indeed.









It’s a weird way to start summer by having a brain surgery. The end of the school year wasn’t like most. But, you all know that by now. No cute photos by the school sign. No 5th grade graduation walk. No swim party. When friends asked Brody to go to summer camp months ago, I couldn’t tell them the real reason why not. When planning for summer, camps and organized activities were just weren’t the priority like other families we know. No, looking at summer camp guides. No, coordinating schedules with friends. No joining the pool. Nope, it was pretty simple goal: Recover.

Recovering from brain surgery is the first priority that changes everything. No swimming allowed until August. No sports or activities that could involve contact. No being out in the hot sun all day. None of the above are on our list. And, that’s really more than ok.

In fact, I am NOT complaining. What we get to do is recover. We get to see if naps are needed. We get to read a new book. We get to lay down in dark rooms in the middle of the afternoon. We get to forget what day of the week it is. We get to eat treats whenever we want. We get to forget the alarm. We get to laze in Eno’s and watch the garden grow. So, don’t for a second feel sorry for us. It’s actually quite nice.

Actually, maybe it’s the way our lives should look more like. Wouldn’t it be nice if there wasn’t a schedule to dominate our lives? Wouldn’t it be great if we woke up and then decided what we feel like doing? Wouldn’t it be pretty awesome saying no to things that don’t serve us? You know, it’s not all that bad. I think a lot of teachers, children, moms and dads could also use a recovery time.

What our summer will be filled with is:

  • (Not Fortnite…..ok, now you know I’m lying) Ok, so not Fortnite all of the time!!
  • New hikes
  • Bike rides to spot wildlife
  • Art projects gone wrong
  • Pinterest cooking fails
  • Experimenting in our little garden
  • Helping new people (my kids will (NOT) love me for this)
  • Reading new books
  • Chores 🙂
  • Chillin’
  • Exploring some new spots in and outside of Tennessee
  • Spending time with friends

All of the above will lead to healing.  All of the above will allow us to recover, physically and emotionally. There’s no pressure to preform. There’s no rush to start or end. There’s room for creativity. And, there is quiet time to still the mind. Will it look like most of my friend’s summers? Nope, and that’s ok for us. In fact, I realize that’s what’s needed and even preferred!

R– rest

E– exercise

C– create

O– outdoor fun

V– vacation

E– experience

R– revive




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