Morale Booster (on my last day of summer vacation)

This poster was put out by the British government in 1939.
File:Keep Calm and Carry On Poster.svg
The King's intent was to boost morale with the threat of invasion for the Brits.

I'm a huge fan of morale boosters, as I believe my morale needs to be a priority to me for myself as well as my family.  So, when we "redid" our playroom/office, 
I played on the crown theme and I treated myself to these little play on words of this WW2  message.
I ordered the prints on, and used scrapbook paper to cover canvas frames I found on sale at Michael's.
Today was my last day of summer vacation and while I could easily dwell in the disappointment of leaving my girls or the impending stress of the first few weeks of school, I won't because that mindset is more of a morale blower. So I'll write on to keep calm, reflecting on what I've snapped both in my camera and in my head.  The morale booster in these words for me is that I'm keeping calm to notice my journey. Thank you for sharing in it by reading. 

I learn so much by noticing what pictures I've snapped, taking the time to write my reflections. It was only after looking at these pictures of our outside picnic of pizza and watermelon with an ambience created by Citronella and Crayola,
that I noticed that Anna Cate took the effort to wear pearls.
Wear the pearls. Seize the moment...or the marker.
Take delight in the little things....the magic marker or the precious face under the upside-down bow.
They enjoy being together and I love that.  No metaphor or play on words can capture my sentiment on seeing sisters play together. I love them and I love how they love each other.

We've enjoyed the last few weeks of summer. 

Anna Cate swam in her final meet of the season at the League Finals. 
Her swimming improved so much this summer. 
She loves her coaches. 
This Fall as she starts Kindergarten I feel like we will try to figure out the right balance of activities for our family. We are going to do soccer and church activities.  Swimming is the first thing that I have seen her really LOVE.  Her excitement level and commitments far out shines our gymnastics and ballet experiences.
We are so proud of her.
After the meet, we raced home and got Molly from the babysitter and headed downtown to the Famer's Market and children's festival celebrating one of my favorite ideas -- eating healthy!! The girls loved getting to meet up with Evan and Jackson.
Jackson, who is standing up in this picture, adores Molly. It is so darn sweet how protective he is of her. I remember the first time he saw her when she was weeks old. Maybe it was love at first glance.

When I think about this summer "off" I don't know if I'll rememember the details, but I'll remember being with them and I've been reminded to be grateful for it by these little rocks that have crossed my path when I’m performing some menial task. I have found one as I wipe down the counters in the kitchen after Anna Cate and Molly’s meals or after our family dinner that BJ has cooked. I have swept one up as I’m trying to keep my house tidy. The last time I remember coming across one was in the bottom of my purse as I was riding with our family on the way to a wedding. I was digging out some lip gloss for Anna Cate and came across the rock. For the record, Anna Cate certainly would not consider glossing her lips as mundane or menial.  

As it turned out, it was a big night for Anna Cate because her Uncle Greg asked her to be in his wedding as the flower girl. Good thing she has lip gloss on for the picture.

At the wedding, both girls enjoyed the time with friends.
Anna Cate's dance partner is our good friend Erin who is the children's minister at church. She is fabulous with the girls!! Her husband Mike walked up to Anna Cate and said, "I hate to tell you this, but someone else here has your outfit on. I know that must be embarassing."
Sorry, Jackson, Molly has a short attention span and she loves Owen, too.

Of his many fine qualities, he is incredibly photogenic!! I love taking his picture.

It is so much easier to capture him than to get a snapshot of Molly Mae who moves all the time. Hence, the blur.

The prayer for the couple is maybe the most pefect prayer I've ever heard for two people devoting their life to each other. The minister, who was the groom's mother, said, "May you be forgiving of each other, and willing to sacrifice for one another."  Think about the simple truth in those words.

So back to the rocks....

I am incredibly forgetful so these rocks are popping up by pure coincidence and if I went to go find one now to take a picture, I couldn’t locate one other than the one in my purse.  We received the rocks at church early in the summer; maybe we were given them on more than one Sunday explaining why our household has several. I don’t remember that detail. I don’t even recall learning during the service why we were getting them, possibly because I was trying to keep Anna Cate quiet.  However, I do remember reading somewhere that they were symbols of God’s blessings and to take them with us this summer. I I’m almost positive I remember that they are there to remind us of God’s blessings and to take that with us throughout our summer. 
Hence, every time I see a rock, I’ve said a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to raise my children, to spend so much time with them this summer and to serve my family even in the mundane. I can only imagine that my stumbling upon them  as I’m doing mindless, menial, repeatable chores is not a coincidence, leading me to reflect upon the transmundane (a real word that means “heavenly”).  
On the eve of going back to work tomorrow, I describe my circumstance as my forgetful self has to juggle working outside the home and mothering a young family by saying  that, “I hate that I have to work as I would much rather be with my children during the day, but I love my job and treasure my summers off.”  Yet what I have learned this summer is how time consuming taking care of these two very active daughters has been, so I haven’t exactly been “off.”  Still, what a blessing it is to be “on” as Mommy to these precious children filling my time caring for them and our home BJ and I work so hard to provide.  This is my sacred duty and I’m blessed beyond measure, although sometimes I forget.  What a difference I could make if I stopped more often to be grateful rather than desirous. 
I think about where I was this time last year, preparing to go back to school yet tonight I'm a Scarlett as I'll think about that tomorrow.  I'm enjoying the ride like Mollly here dancing and singing to her favorite song.

Tomorrow I'll wear my teacher hat and do my best with that.

But tonight, I'm looking at what I've snapped over the last several days.
Dates with friends:
Picnics at the Pool:

 We enjoyed breakfast at Eileen's with Erin, Mum-Mum and Patti in their quaint courtyard.

Then, we visited BJ and the girls got to ride on a gator.

I took the girls with me to a little dinner at the group home for adults with special needs.  There is a mission circle at church named for BJ's mother so I want for us to have a presence even though I can't make the monthly committment of time.  When we arrived, Anna Cate whispered to me, "Did these people know my Grammy?"  When I told her to ask Baba that since I didn't know the answer, Brenda smiled a sad, sweet smile and said, "yes, your Grammy spent a lot of time here."
Lee below really loved the girls and though Molly was quite timid at first and would not let Lee touch her, by the end of the evening, they were dancing buddies.

It helped to have the familiar faces and loving arms around us. My girls love Miss Diana so much. Just today I told someone in a conversation about daycare that Diana is one of the top five blessings of my life. 
We enjoyed the Farmer's Market as a family.
I got a little lesson in confidence from Anna Cate, who wanted to wear this old shower curtain to the pool since she thought it was a fabulous wedding veil/suit coverup. 
 Just when I had successfully squashed my own ego and was willing to walk in with a child wearing a shower curtain, she said to me on the walk to the pool, "maybe we should just leave it here on this fence and pick it up on our way back."

The mundane, the details, the big events, the beautiful prayers, the requests for lip is all a part of this summer I've treasured. In my effort to stay calm and blog on I have reflected upon a fabulous summer! For that, my morale is boosted.

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.  `~Cyril Connolly


Beautiful post, Sarah! I love the etsy signs you got. I need those! :) Blessings to you and your work, both at home and at school. You're an amazing woman!!
Anonymous said…
Mom of the year. This is so wonderful and you will treasure these posts and photos forever. You are such an inspiration, I wish my girls were young again. Many Blessings to you as you start another school year.