Family 2015

Family 2015

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Small Changes

I have always been bad at things like New Year's resolutions and diets.  Some time ago, I just stopped trying because who likes to always fail?

But, over the past few years, a new idea has taken hold in my brain.  I have always viewed stuff like that as punishing myself rather than helping myself which is why I would always quit.  If I can adopt the mindset that this is good for me and I will probably even enjoy it - then, game on!

Media consumption is high on my list of concerns not only for my kids, but for myself.  I don't think all the gadgetry is evil (see my previous entry), but I do recognize that we need to control it and not the other way around.  But, how does one go about that?  I don't want to be the constant nagging voice in my kid's heads "get off your phone!  turn off the xbox!  what are you doing on the computer now??"  But, I also don't want them to have no self-discipline or awareness in this area.  They will never get away from electonics - it's hard to imagine how, but I'm sure it will get worse.  What do we do?  Internal regulation is what we need, but how do we get there?

Well, we have put one guideline in place that I believe has headed us down the right path.

We heard a speaker not long ago talking about how important the first hour of the day is and how it sets the tone for your day and determines your focus.  He said that to roll out of bed and immediately check your devices (guilty) is to program yourself to be distracted all day long.  I GOT IT.

So, we started.  We told the kids that from now on, the first hour of everyone's day is to be device-free.  What they do during that time is up to them, but no electronics of any kind.  We are doing it too - and what a difference already.

I spend my first hour doing some kind of exercise and then having a time to read, pray, journal or even just sit in the quiet.  It makes my head clearer and my days feel more productive.  I know that this isn't going to be like all of those times that I tried to make a resolution and didn't stick to it because it is something I am doing FOR myself,  not TO myself. 

It's a small change, but I can tell it will have big results.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Mom's Take on Smartphones and Such...

I gotta be honest, I am so sick of all the panic and general hand-wringing about technology and social media - I really am over it.

It's not because I don't understand - I get it.  I admit to walking in the living room and seeing everyone of my children staring at a phone and NOT LIKING IT.  I have struggled with the appropriate way to enforce "screen boundaries."  I have said, "if I see that phone at the table, it's mine," and meant it, buddy.

However, I do not buy into the idea that these little computers we carry in our back pockets are going to be the end of society as we know it.  That they are handicapping us and making it impossible for us to truly connect with each other or have meaningful relationships.

Sorry, but I call BS on that.

I call BS on it because I like my phone just as much as the next person - maybe even a little more, if I'm being honest.  Yet, strangely, I still manage to have close relationships with my family (yes - even my teenagers, love their phones though they do), and friends.  I still care for people deeply and have normal face-to-face conversations.  I am still involved in my community and understand the value of volunteerism and giving back.  I am not saying I'm perfect, by any means, but I am standing up and saying confidently that my iPhone has not stolen my soul.

And you know what?  I see these same things in my kids. They love their phones, sure.  But, they also love their friends.  They may communicate with flying thumbs and goofy selfies instead of locked in the pantry on a rotary phone, but communicate they do.  They have deep and meaningful conversations on social media.  They discuss issues, dream about their futures, tackle difficult subjects and encourage one another.  I know this because I see it and read it.  I know there is plenty my kids don't share with me, but it is not uncommon for one of them to say, "Hey mom, read this text, or what do you think about this thing I read or watch this cool video so and so sent me."  Make no mistake, they are tackling life just like we did.

We all need to be aware, we need to be intentional in our relationships, we need to be parents and not allow our kids to be consumed with all things electronic...BUT, we also need to give ourselves a little credit.  We can have these devices and still be and raise good, loving and thoughtful humans.

That's how I see it.  :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pausing to Take Stock

Those of you who have read my blog since it started know that I started blogging after I had begun writing a book and then lost all of the content when my computer crashed.  It was a sad, sad day, but I learned the valuable lesson of backing things up and it prompted me to keep a journal of my life and family, because, gosh darn it, I will indeed write a book one of these days!

So...I blog and post to facebook because I like to share with my friends, but also because I am building content.

Today's blog is just a moment for me to stop and look around my life.  I am busy, busy, busy!!!  But, I don't want to miss all the wonder in my busy-ness.  Read on if you're interested, if not - you will read it in my book.  :)

In a few short weeks, my 2nd born will graduate from high school.  I have been thinking lately about how much the dynamic of our family will change when she goes to college (as it did when our first born ventured out a couple of years ago).  The changes are good, but also hard. We have been this close-knit group of 7 people for years and now we have reached the point where the members are starting to embark on the part of their journey where they strike out on their own.  They are SUPPOSED to do this, this has been the goal all along, but that doesn't mean we like it all the time.

In 5 months - 5 short months - there will only be 5 of us living in this house full time.

Kennedy will be a junior at Longwood University.  We have been so proud to watch her embrace college and take advantage of all the opportunities that she has been afforded. Her future is bright indeed.

Reagan will be a freshman at Radford University.  So excited for all she will learn and have the opportunity to be involved in.  I have no doubt it will catapult her forward, not just as a dancer, but as a person.

McKinley will be a sophomore at Stuarts Draft High School.  She discovered a love for theater this year, participating in both the One Act and the musical; and also discovered she can sing. I don't know where she will head after high school, but she will certainly have plenty of options.

Carter will be an 8th grader at Stuarts Draft Middle School.  He eats, drinks and breathes lacrosse.  For the boy whose interests change so rapidly, it has been interesting to see him latch onto this and stick with it.  He has a fair amount of natural talent, and is learning how to add hard work to the equation.  Who knows where it will lead?

Pierce will be a 5th grader at Guy K. Stump Elementary. He often feels like he is being left behind in a family where everyone is so busy, and growing and changing so quickly. I remind him often they they were just like him when they were 10. I, for one, am glad to have a 10 year old who is taking his time with life.

5 kids (well, 2 of them are adults...), 5 different schools.  1 Mom brain and heart to handle it all.

Sometimes, I feel the odds are stacked against me.

But, on days like today I just choose to embrace the waterfall.  Would I want less?  Would I want them to not experience life, learn, grow, fly?  Of course not.  I will let the beauty of their growth overwhelm me, not the sadness of change.

Today, I will breathe deeply and enjoy this moment, I will be grateful for the years of constant togetherness and thousands of shared memories.  I will look forward to all of the new ones we have yet to make.

I will be honored to be a part of making this Mihailoff family tapestry.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Grace for Today

Been thinking a lot about grace lately - mostly because I need it so much.  Not just the grace that saves me in the afterlife, but the grace to walk through this life - day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute sometimes.

Grace to just keep on going when it feels like that is all you have done for years and years and years...

Life has given me much to be grateful for and I am indeed grateful.

But, I am also tired and discouraged some days.

On those days, I am glad that I have the everlasting arms to lean back on.  Part of my journey has been realizing that that is what those arms are for.  I spent a lot of years imagining that they were folded in anger against me.

That realization has been a beautiful fruit of the struggle, I wouldn't trade that knowledge for anything.

But, I am ready, ready to move on past some of the issues that have plagued me for years.

Today, I sigh and keep on walking.  Grace for today and bright hope for tomorrow...

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Some days, despite my best intentions, I fall flat on my face.  Yesterday was that day.  I didn't cause an actual crisis or anything, but I did create a misunderstanding that further stressed and complicated a situation that was already stressful and complicated.  Go me.

I had no evil intentions, I really just should have thought a little longer before I spoke.  Still, lack of intention does not mean one didn't create a problem.

While I was beating myself up, I stopped to think about how I would respond if it was another person who had been in my shoes.  I admit that my knee jerk reaction would probably not have been great; but ultimately, I would have shrugged and realized that the person didn't mean any harm and gotten on with my life.  Probably the people in my situation did the same.

So, why is it so hard to forgive oneself?

I guess it's because we all want to be perceived in a good light and when we do something we feel messes that up, its hard to take.

Well.  I am not perfect.  So, if you were wondering about that, wonder no more....;)

I'm glad today is a new day, a clean slate.  Next time I mess up, I will try to be a little more gracious to myself and I will try to forgive others more quickly too.  We are all trying and that's really all we can do.

Friday, September 16, 2016


I work as a dental assistant and our office is open Monday-Thursday 7-5.  I usually go to work at 8:00 (because my employer is flexible and family-oriented PTL!), but I do come in some days at 7:00.  It is a long work day/week to be sure,  and with after school stuff and 4 kids still at home; I am ready to raise the white flag of surrender by Thursday evening.   Every week though, the thought of Friday keeps me going strong.

I call it Friday-ing.

I absolutely use Fridays to get everybody to their appointments, to grocery shop, to clean, to run the million errands every family needs run....but, there are days; like this one, where there is no running, the errands aren't urgent and all the work can be done at home.  Magical.

I try to take these days to reflect, because time - it is passing.

Now that school has been in session for several weeks and the kids' activities are all underway, we have settled into the "school year rhythm."  I like my days to be predictable to some degree and I like the steady hum of family life, but I need to remember to soak it in and not just let it slip by.

This morning, after all the kids were at school and Nic was at work, I went into all the kids' bedrooms and laid in each of their beds.  I tried to imagine what they were thinking about and how they felt at night as they drifted off to sleep. I prayed for them - growing to adulthood isn't for wimps.

Then I did some computer work for the marching band, cleaned up the house and decided to just sit and be.

That is a tall order in this day and age, isn't it?  But, I feel in my soul we need to do more of it.

My prayer for all of you is that you have some time and space in your life to "Friday."  Love you all.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Good Christian or Bad Christian....?

So, I was reading a devotional this morning and it really, really, really bothered me.

The author was relating an instance where one of her children had gotten into trouble at school and it threw her into a whirlwind of feeling like a "bad Christian parent."  Now, she was being honest with her circumstance and trying to help others, that's not what bothered me; it bothered me that she had to spend one ounce of her time and effort trying to combat that feeling.

I mean, are there "bad Christians" and "good Christians?"

If there are, where can I find that measuring stick to find out who is who?  At what point do my struggles put me into "bad Christian" territory and which struggles are holy enough to avoid the label?

No, no, no...the very idea of that is ridiculous.

We are Christians because we follow Christ.  Period.  I will struggle, you will struggle, every person will struggle - but that is because we are human, it has no bearing on our Christianity.  Our Christianity comes into play in HOW WE DEAL with the struggles.

It is a waste of my time and effort to feel guilty for being human.  It does not matter what a terrific parent you are, your child will make some bad choices.  It does not matter what a great spouse you are, you and your partner will not always see eye to eye.  It doesn't matter how hard you work, sometimes money will be in short supply...etc, etc, etc.

WHEN these things come up, what do you do?

The answer to THAT question determines where you are in your Christian walk.

So, dear author of that devotional, please take the effort you are using to wonder where your Christianity is failing and put it toward helping your child deal with this situation.  Discipline him, love him, teach him, move forward.

That's what Christians do.