Readers, I have a confession to make. Had I not stumbled across a blog-iversary post on Cassie-b’s blog recently, I would have completely forgotten that today marks the second anniversary of the birth of my own blog! It’s hard to believe I’ve been at it for two full years now! To celebrate this milestone, I thought it would be fun to share some interesting blog stats.

Since its inception on June 4, 2005, this blog has seen:

  • 208 posts
  • 66,018 words
  • 8,692 visitors

Top 3 posts with the most comments:

  • The mighty mighty em dash (22 comments—including genuflection before my grammatical excellence and the offer of a pocket protector for Christmas)
  • Able to leap War and Peace in a single bound (21 comments—including kudos for being a brilliant reading and writing superhero and a request for pictures of me in a spandex costume)
  • Don’t try this at home (19 comments—including admiration for my husband’s wisdom, a vote for best post read over the Thanksgiving holiday, and a request to borrow my mother and her graph paper)

Longest post:

  • My legacy to you (1351 words—apparently the correct number of words to hit people right in the tear ducts, as this is also the post in which I was accused of making people cry)

Post with the most visits:

Category I publish to most often:

Search terms (including variations) that yield the most visitors to this blog:

  • inspirational reflections
  • locks of love
  • sleep assault monique
  • you reap what you sow meaning
  • how I met my husband

And you can always check out all my personal favorite posts right here.

Supermom, I am not

Today, a friend paid me a very nice compliment. She said I was the best working mom she’s ever known, with a job that entails a high degree of responsibility while also coordinating the busy schedules of two well-rounded, happy kids, and that I manage to do it all cheerfully and without ever having bags under my eyes.

I accepted the compliment graciously, because I was too chicken to tell her the truth of just how much of my kids’ lives I have already missed. I didn’t tell her that I missed Maia’s school award ceremony a few weeks ago (she received the Leadership award), because I was traveling, or that I missed a recent ceremony celebrating the publication of a book jointly written by her class, because I was catching up at work after having been traveling. I didn’t tell her that I was not there last December for Maia’s third surgical round of ear tubes, because I was, you guessed it, traveling, or that Maia left a message on my cell phone which brought me to tears, telling me it was okay that I had to miss her surgery because she didn’t want me to get fired from my job. I didn’t tell my friend that I have never been on one of Maia’s school field trips or volunteered in her classroom. I didn’t tell her that at Noah’s daycare, the director commented recently about how long it had been since she had seen me. And I didn’t tell her I’m entirely convinced that our pediatrician was recently shocked to discover that my kids actually have a mother.

This is not to say that I don’t get plenty of really excellent quality time with my offspring, however. I am there far more than I am not. I’ve never missed a dance recital or a school performance, and we have so many silly family moments that I treasure. Just tonight, I tricked Noah into giving me 100 kisses, and boy did he deliver! I gave him the option to call it quits after the first 50 sticky ice cream-faced kisses, but no, he kept going and even threw in an extra 10 for good measure. It’s moments like that when I know I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Somehow, everything always ends up just right.

What I did tell this friend was that there is no possible way I could manage the juggling act without the world’s best husband and father who takes on far more than his fair share of household responsibilities and never complains, or the grandparents who always pitch in to help Kent when I’m away. And Maia wouldn’t get nearly the number of extracurricular activities without the friend who has taken her to dance lessons every Wednesday night for the last two years, and who for the third summer in a row is sharing carpooling duties with me for Maia’s and her own daughter’s busy summer schedule.

The reality is that Supermom is a big, fat myth. It’s more like super friends and family.

That’s the line Kent uses to wake up Maia every single morning, as she explained to new friends the other day with a classically exasperated “see what a goofball dad I have” eye roll. Like he really thinks that in the stupor of sleep, she’ll forget that it’s practically summer or that we live in a tropical climate, leap out of bed, and race to the window to behold the miracle of a white winter wonderland.

My daughter would never fall for such a ruse to get her moving for school, so sometimes Kent alters the story and tells her it’s Christmas, and Santa came. Yet another failed ploy from the goofball dad to rouse Maia from her slumber.

Maia may think her dad is goofy now, but someday I guarantee she’ll be telling this story with fond memories instead of exasperated eye rolls. I know I do—I have my own fond memories of dads and the morning wake up routine. As a teenager I got my own phone line in my bedroom, and throughout high school my dad called me on my phone every single morning to wake me up. He was more reliable than my alarm clock, to my constant annoyance. But I secretly loved it.

Silly dads. You gotta love ’em!

I’m still here!

Just to relieve the worry of those who have wondered where I have been hiding, I’m still alive! I have been on the road this week for work (in glittery Las Vegas for the 3rd time time in less than a year), to be followed over the next 10 days by:

  • a full day of travel to get home
  • a packed weekend of brunches, dance recitals, bible study, and a secret undisclosed mission
  • a hooky day to visit with out-of-town friends at Disney
  • two days in the office to pack in two weeks’ worth of work
  • a long weekend visiting Kent’s family in Tennessee in celebration of a niece’s graduation

I’m not done with this blog by a long shot. It’s just a 15-minute break. I’ll be back. Soon. Very soon. I promise.

Where donuts come from

Noah (out of the blue, as we are pulling out of the McDonald’s drive-thru): I like McDonald’s. They don’t have McDonald’s at church.

Me (in mock surprise, and curious to know why he made the random connection between McDonald’s and church): They don’t??? Well, what do they have at church?

Noah: Donuts.

Me (with a sinking feeling that I know exactly where this is heading): Noah, do you know why we go to church?

Noah (brightly): To get donuts!

I knew it. Silly boy! I think it’s time to cut him off from the donut cart.

For a good cause

For longer than I care to admit, I’ve been feeling a call to donate my time in some type of community service capacity—a quiet but persistent voice telling me that with all the rich blessings in my life, I’m supposed to be giving something back. Rather than taking action, however, I have hemmed and hawed and procrastinated as I only occasionally pondered my options among the many charitable and service organizations that are represented in our area. All are perpetually in need of volunteers, and each makes a convincing recruitment case for what they do, but the nebulous question for me has always been where could I, little ol’ me, make a real contribution? What talents and skills could I offer that would make a lasting difference for someone in need?

Over a year ago, the answer came in the form of a job candidate who volunteers for our local Adult Literacy League. This candidate did not get the job (a tough call between two very qualified people), but her cause struck an instant chord. Why had I never thought of this before? Helping others learn to read and write—skills that mean so much to me, lifelong skills that will unlock potential and open doors and can never be unlearned? This is something I can wholeheartedly embrace. I have always been an avid and passionate reader and general lover of the written word. My career centers on the field of training, specifically in the development and writing of training materials. I am thoroughly schooled in adult learning principles. Back in my college days, I even served as an academic tutor. Could there be any more perfect match for merging my interests, experience, and abilities? I think not. So the notion of becoming a literacy volunteer gained a foothold in my consciousness, where it has lingered persistently, refusing to release its grip.

Until now, however, I have encountered one roadblock after another—some admittedly of my own making. Tutor training sessions only take place every couple of months—always when I was traveling, as bad timing would have it. Then as the unprecedented travel schedule finally wound down, we went into warp speed moving mode after selling our house far earlier than we ever expected to. And a generally hectic work and family life have afforded easy excuses for why now is never quite a convenient time to commit a mere couple of hours once or twice a week.

But despite family and personal commitments, it’s time follow my own advice of making time instead of waiting to find it. It’s time to get off my duff, quit dawdling and making excuses, and set an example for my kids. I want them to see that service is about more than just writing a check. So today, I finally registered with the Adult Literacy League. The next training is not until June, and I won’t get a student assignment until sometime after that, but at least I am finally doing something instead of just thinking about it. That’s progress. And I am very much looking forward to helping others learn such a practical life skill, one personal connection at a time.

Ah, this is the good life. Here I sit on the back patio at dusk, enjoying the balmy evening air of a Florida spring, watching a pair of birds court each other at the feeder hanging just outside. The birds go unnoticed by the cat, who wanders aimlessly on the cool concrete as if searching for a spot still warmed by the waning sun. I, however, watch and listen, captivated as the birds twitter and trill their intentions while flitting from feeder to fence posts to tree limbs and back. In the background, running water cascades peacefully through a tiered fountain topped by the statue of a girl, from whose chiseled seashell the water eternally flows.

The sun continues its descent and the landscape lighting flickers on, spotlighting the neatly shaped shrubbery and surrounding vegetation—a grouping of small but impeccably manicured palm trees, the leaves and blossoms of a fruit-bearing lemon tree, and the tropical bird of paradise plants that will be strikingly beautiful when in full bloom. The illuminated reflection in the flawless, unbroken surface of the still pool as the evening grows darker is stunning. Nearby, a vine overtakes a wrought iron trellis and trails casually across an exterior window. The dimmed tiki lights and street lantern add a gentle glow to the scene. Now the crickets begin their chirping song. Soon, the hot tub will erupt in steamy jet action, inviting this blogger to sink into its swirling, soothing waters.

Wait, we live here? This can’t be! Somebody pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Easter 2007

My kids have inspired me today.

I love the LordFirst came the Easter eggs. I helped Maia and Noah color them this afternoon, a day later than normal due to a busy day yesterday, and some of the fruits of their efforts are pictured in this photo. Every egg designed by Maia had a theme relevant to the meaning of this special day. Every single one. The full text circling the blue egg on the left, written in magic crayon, says “I love the Lord.” And Noah insisted that crosses adorn nearly all of his eggs; which he got, with a little help from Mommy.

Donahues love JesusThen came the sidewalk chalk. While I was inside cleaning up remnants of Easter Bunny chaos and then rearranging kitchen cabinets to make more functional sense for our high traffic use, the young’uns were outside playing with the chalk that came in Maia’s Easter basket. When I later went out to inspect the damage, the proclamation in this photo was the very first thing I saw outside the front door. “Donahues love Jesus.” I think I can safely say Maia speaks for us all.

Jesus is the KingThe next thing I saw was this announcement that “Jesus is the King.” Our front walkway is actually graced with two of these—one labeled with Maia’s name (pictured) and another with Noah’s name—and Maia proudly showed them off.

I’m convinced that God is whispering in Maia’s ear, the same way I have heard Him whispering in mine. She’s certainly not shy in talking about God or showing her love for Him through prayer, song, and, apparently, Easter eggs and sidewalk chalk.

I can’t wait for the day when both of my kids make these types of statements in front of our church congregation as they are about to be baptized. That will be a celebration, indeed.

In almost 13 years of marriage, Kent and I had never brushed our teeth at the same time. Until yesterday. You see, our new master bathroom has two sinks, a luxury we’ve never enjoyed before. And so without planning to, Kent and I found ourselves taking care of our dental health at precisely the same time yesterday morning. And we both noticed the novelty of it.

I hope the novelty never wears off. I want to be brushing my teeth side by side with my husband for many more years to come.

We are home

Between all the packing and the unpacking during the last few weeks, we have barely had a spare minute to just sit down and enjoy our new surroundings. But we finally made it into the new place, and so far, we are thinking that buying this house is pretty much the smartest thing we have ever done. It couldn’t be more perfect for us—the size, the layout, the location, and of course, the swimming pool. Even (girls, I know you are with me on this) the closets. Storage was something severely lacking in our old house.

And, true to form, the first thing Noah noticed after we unpacked Maia’s room was the return of the gumball machine. Silly kid!

Despite a few stressful moments along the way, so many things aligned with such perfect timing that we know we are supposed to be here. Still, Kent and I looked at each other last night and we both said, “I can’t believe this is our house!” We could have gotten something bigger for the same money, or a fancier neighborhood, but nothing else we looked at felt like home the way this one does. We’re in love, and we have every intention of maintaining it with the same meticulous attention that the previous owners showered on it.

We are home.

Update: Just to keep it all in perspective, read this post from Paul as a reminder of why we should never take the things we have for granted, and if you are so inclined, say a prayer for the families who lost their homes. Paul’s blog happened to be the first I visited after writing the above post. It’s amazing to me how God always places these reminders before me with perfect timing.

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