ILaH Vlogs

Home Run Hitter


For whatever reason, this photo (credit unknown) was extremely poignant to me this morning. Maybe it’s because I love playing softball or maybe because I have so many great family memories at the ball-fields? Perhaps it’s because baseball is my favorite sport to watch.

I think it’s mostly because I have a clear understanding of what goes down at home-base. I have an intimate relationship with being in the bottom of 9th inning on third base with 2 outs and a batter up. Whatever happened I needed to get myself home.

Being in the same situation when I was the one up to bat was perhaps the most intensely anxiety ridden experience of my life-time. I remember vividly the day in 8th grade when I became the hero. I was the last batter (not necessarily the most skilled) who happened to be kind of an overweight nobody with not many friends.

Monica Sharpe was the opposing pitcher and nobody, I mean, NOBODY, could pitch as fast at that girl. (Not even professional baseball players) The game was tied. There were 2 outs. We had a player on 3rd and I was up. It was a full count. I was a nervous wreck. Monica (who later in high-school became a great friend of mine and a teammate) had already struck out many of our greatest batters multiple times. There was no way that insignificant outfielder Alice was going to succeed. In fact, the team’s disappointment at who was up to bat was pretty obvious.

But succeed I did. I nailed a line drive down the third base line. I got a slow start (out of shock) to first – I couldn’t believe I had even made contact with the ball. The opposing  third baseman got the ball and our runner headed home. The baseman did what she was trained to do and went for the easy out at first instead of the one at home.

And I BEAT the out by about .001 milliseconds. And our runner won the game. Actually I won the game. The team went crazy! The next 20 minutes of my life are a blur, but this is perhaps one of my most favorite memories. I had never felt so pleased with myself. I had never felt so validated, honored, or victorious.

This photo stood out to me this morning because of it’s metaphorical value to me and my desire to love being at home.

If I can imagine my home life as home-base maybe I can catch the vision of its importance. Maybe I can catch the vision of my importance. So what if I am not the runner? What if I am the scared little girl up to bat? And what if just making contact with the ball is good enough to win the game?

No what ifs. That is exactly what I am faced with every day. So today, my washing machine, dirty dishes, chauffeuring duties, and patience with one extremely trying toddler all have the name Monica Sharpe on them. And my goal is to just make contact with the ball. I can do that.

Thank you to Dieter F Uchtdorf for my other inspiration this morning that I just re-read from this inspiring address about living without regret.

Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

I never would have listed home-run hitter as a talent, but, yes, once in my lifetime I was a home-run hitter. “Get back. Get back. Get back and back and back.” [I just screamed that as loud as possible for Monica to hear from my dugout called home.] Screaming those team cheers was always one of my talents, and my kids will tell you the screaming is still on my strength list  – and it’s not unimagined.

Here’s to letting go of the screaming and turning on the home-run hitting. Keep you’re eye on the ball, mom.

*added the next day – one hour after publishing this, while on my run, I realized that in all my softball days, I have never hit a homerun, not once*


Finding Gratitude

So, if you read the about page, you have figured out what this new blog is all about. Basically I plan to chronicle my journey of learning to love being at home. After 14 years of parenting, I still haven’t figured it out. Yes, I’ve figured out some of it, but my goal is to figure out all of it. Ha! Let’s see how long it takes. {forever} I hope you plan on sticking around.

My hubby and I felt strongly that I needed to be home more. I quit my job to do so, which means that we will have to live much more frugally.  We can make it on my husband’s income but to do so successfully it will take a lot of sacrifice.

I don’t like sacrifice. Well, at least I don’t like sacrifice until I realize that it was actually good for me, which is always the case.

To be happy, I realize that I am going to have to look for the good. Find the gratitude. If I can’t find it, I know that I will just be forever stuck wallowing in my sacrificial pity party.

Here is what I found on Week 1 of my new focus on family:

FORCED GRATITUDE (I had to force focus to find it)

By quitting my job, I automatically didn’t feel as rushed. Last Thursday I was able to happily take Abigail her forgotten lunch and spend 10 extra minutes (even though it made her late to preschool) helping Caroline paint her X. Video here.

abgail lunchcarolineX

On Friday night, after a grocery challenged week (because we are trying to stay under budget) Abigail and I made cookies for her to take to her movie night instead of buying something at the store. I noticed myself taking pride in my capability and I really enjoyed the time with Abigail. She is pretty good in the kitchen. Yeah mom!


Also on Friday night, instead of being bitter that I couldn’t afford to take the girls to the movie while LG was out of town, I tried to embrace a different form of entertainment. We went for a walk around the neighborhood and I fell in love with this view of the girls through the blooms. I also introduced the girls to one of my favorite chick flicks and we collectively admired the strength of female relationships.


On Sunday, I was feeling especially insignificant. My husband got a new calling in church (he is working with the youth) and was focusing on his new assignment. Instead of trying to draw him away as a comfort to my own insecurities, I was able to look and see how blessed I am that he has this new opportunity to focus on his own spirituality. I love him so. This took some serious humility, but it was empowering.


UNFORCED GRATITUDE (happened naturally)

Last Tuesday, after reading of my faith experiment on facebook, a friend brought me 6 pounds of ground sausage and said she wished she could quit her job and she wanted to support me in doing so. Yeah, I cried. It made me feel not so alone.


Yesterday, Sophia was able to wiggle out of her cast, saving the family $150 at the doctor’s office.

I don’t think things like this are coincidental. I take them as true gifts directly from God.


And just this morning, after overcoming my bitterness by vlogging I gained some insight for myself.

This blog needs to be about me staying vulnerable and honest.

If I can do that then God will let me have it as a tool in my journey.

(Last week, I started this blog, but then realized I was just using it as an escape and figured I would have to scrap it.)

That gift made me especially grateful and happy to be at home cuddling on the couch with Caroline.


I’m so happy I could find love today.

One day at a time.

Boston Tragedy and The Big Bad Media

IMG_1406All morning, since the moment I awoke, I have been glued to CNN livestream watching and hoping for the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. I have felt myself getting more and more anxious and farther and farther from my family. I am less then a week into my experiment to see if I can always place  my family first, and I have failed this morning as I’ve totally ignored my 3 year old.

Here is a great article from Psychology Today about media making families sick. One of the things that it recommends is earning media time by participating in non-tech activities. With my 4 children I have found that if I were to do that  it would be a full-time job of regulation. I don’t believe in over-controlling them like it suggests by having charts and whatnot, but in pursuing the healthy habits together. “Hey guys, let’s walk to the park.” I often find that we don’t even have time for the media much less want it when we make other activities the first priority.

I suspect if today I had started my morning right with our goal of family time first thing each morning,  I wouldn’t have wasted the entire morning glued to the news about a situation that has no eternal value for me or my family. In fact, the only reason I was able to drag myself away from the news, was by holding myself accountable. Once I got off the news and opened up something more uplifting (for me it was scripture), I was utterly shocked by my immediate change of heart: I didn’t even want to go back to the nuisance of reporters watching police drink gatorade on the corner while speculating what may happen.

Media CAN be very destructive and we are learning this fact repeatedly as a family. It’s been a journey for us to find the right balance. (We aren’t so extreme to believe that we should even try to live in this world without it.) Our journey started first years ago with getting rid of the questionable PG-13 movies in our collection. (I readily admit that the only ones I have somewhat missed are Shrek and Legally Blonde) Then we got rid of cable TV all together. The benefits were immediate. We read more, the kids fought less, we spent more time connecting. (We then let in Netflix and Hulu – which we may need to reevaluate) Our focus as a family as of late has been to spend at least 50% of our media time with things that uplift, inspire, and are productive. (Getting rid of it all together is just out of the question for us at this point) Instead of getting down on myself about it, I am making a mental note to remember what happened to the numbing of my spirit this morning and not get sucked in next time tragedy strikes, which seems to be more and more often.

I guess for me the question that needs to remain in the forefront is, “Is this something that is uplifting, inspiring or productive?” The answer needs to be not only honest but honest in relation to the correct focus. If I am living a centered life on my family, is this uplifting, inspiring, or productive? I am pretty sure Caroline would answer with a resounding, “Mom, come here,” which she just yelled from wherever she is in this house (I have no idea) at this very instant.

How have you limited the media’s influence in your home? Or do you not think it is necessary?