Afraid of a normal life

In the change-the-world-generation, we learned to be afraid of normal. At least I think I did.

Was it that the American norms of speaking out, spreading ideas… freedom of speech… set our expectations too high?

Was it that materialistic baby boomers in the church emphasized the message of pursuing higher callings to their children because they secretly felt guilty for how far their generation had swung into materialism? ( I got that idea from Frank Viola in Pagan Christianity.)

Closing out the decade of my 30s has me stirred up with everything that’s going right and wrong in my life. Has me thinking about life lessons learned in my 20s & 30s. And it has brought into view a few goals before my 30s are gone. (Yeah, I know I said I would devote my blog to catching up on some of the back stories, but I also need to press on to some new goals at the same time.)

See, I’m too busy tackling ever-evolving projects to understand the fear of failure but I am realizing I may suffer from a fear of normal.

Just like the world of computers can be reduced to 0s and 1s, and genes are turned off and on,if  life can be reduced the light of knowing and believing the truth, or the darkness of ignorance fear,  and believing lies, then this fear of normal was eventually going to show itself, right?

Is this the thing that breeds comparison and jealousy even among the best of friends? Is this the thing that breeds fear at our spouses’ everyday attributes? Is this the thing that has us ever-asking which activities we should and shouldn’t invest in for ourselves and or kids….   while years pass beneath our feet?

What if normal just means whole? Balanced?
What if normal means everything in its place?
What if normal is best?

This weekend my husband and I were able to share a rare treat.  We are both musicians, so you would think we love seeing live music together. Not really. Rarely is it the same person that we want to see, and as a family, the logistics are bad for individual entertainment.

But we happen to both love the music of blues rocker Doyle Bramhall. And going together to see him live without our children was NOT normal. Go us!

Yet my heart was a little troubled as the weekend went on. [Insert the inner-dialogue of an person who is watching someone who is living the life I once thought I wanted.] Years of travelling the world with beautiful people has cost him his marriage and a life with his two daughters. My normal life in comparison was becoming a beautiful treasure.

Yet, I have trouble seeing it. I thought I was too old to be misjudging these kinds of things?

It’s time for me to look around and see the beauty in the normal things, to value my true treasures.

I can’t manage all of the desires big and small, some of which are probably just a piecemeal covering over my fear of being normal.

And, really, it’s not that revolutionary.  It’s never a bad time for recalibrating and re-directing. And relaxing into Phillippians 4:8.

“[W]hatever is [already] true, whatever is [already] honorable, whatever is [already] just, whatever is [already] pure, whatever is [already] lovely, whatever is [already] commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything [already] worthy of praise, think about these things.

Ruth has Think+About+These+Things+(Navy)+web this scripture as one of the prints in her beautiful shop… here in white and here in navy (pictured to the left) or on pinterest here. {I tried to embed the pin but couldn’t figure it out!}


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From High School Teacher to Homeschooling Mom (My Story on

I totally bought a t-shirt and little white iron-on letters to create my very own HOMESCHOOLER tshirt to post superman style <see it…. open the jacket…wait for it…. boom.> The inspiration passed, but the idea still makes me laugh. I never ever thought I would homeschool my children.  Not only did I teach public school; my whole family did (almost!) And I had a great experience IN public school, so I was not the typical person hoping to shelter my children from the horrors of public school.

If it freaks you out, I get it. I used to feel the same.

Home-schooling is not what it used to be. I had many misconceptions about it, but the typical homeschooler today is very different than the forerunners of our parents’ generation who had to blaze quite a trail with few resources.

I shared my personal story today via and I hope it can be an encouragement or just something of interest.  Read or share the story here.

If you are grappling with some of the pieces of the home school decision yourself, you can browse some past posts of mine on this topic here  and/or follow more of the educator part of my life in the school room where I’ve been sharing materials to help parents spend time with their kids in The Most Important Book in the House.

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Memory Lane

Wow, what a trip. 2 weeks in Texas with my family and my children. (Zach stayed behind in Tennessee.) I got to accomplish 2 huge things, but mostly I got to reconnect with that old blank scenery, that huge empty sky canvas that matches my mind. 

I got some time and space in my dad’s truck on some of those long empty roads out in west Texas.  I always stop and take pictures. They always look the same, but they are always fresh and beautiful. They never really capture what I wish they could, and I never really savor them after the trip…but I still take them anyway.

I went to my mom’s to start dealing with some of her things since she passed away seven years ago. My step-dad, Mike, still lives in that same old house that I lived in since third grade. And what would I do if he didn’t!  Gosh, I love to just walk around, sit on the porch swing, grab a coke from the fridge, and look out the huge picture window that faces our medium-sized backyard. Where did that sign that said “Johanna’s Hollyhocks” go?

Mike is still the Economic Development Coordinator for Denver City, so I get to catch up on all the town stuff and find out what he’s up to.  He’s a good man, and I don’t know what my mom would have done without him. He took me to the cemetery like he always does…and we shed tears like we always do.

I also got to see for the first time the stone bench memorial that now sits in front of her school. She really was an impactful person. I am so proud. 

I got up in the attic and the tops of closets and went through the piles and boxes in the shed of her stuff that was put there by Mike’s new girlfriend. I got my mom’s best friend, Sharon, to help. I can’t explain, and maybe no one can, but I guess all of us do something like this sooner or later. The things that were theirs become yours.  Some things you didn’t think you’d want, you do. Some things you did, you don’t.  Some things are lost or were given away too soon. Some things just still are things, and they go into the trash.  A few high fives, a few heartbreaks (Chris’ other bronzed shoe & boxes of childhood Christmas ornaments and decorations.)  But what does it matter when it doesn’t quite deliver a person.

I walked through the halls of DCHS during lunch (when no one was there) to find a girl I had taught at Sundown High School years ago, who now teaches Physics there–in the same room where I first  started learning guitar (the chords to “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”) during Mr.Graham’s Physics class via Brandon Tucker. 

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Enough Reminisching. I could go on, you know.

From there I went to Levelland to catch up with Dolf on the progress of the tracks we began recording last summer there. He sent me home with a rig to finish the editing of the 25 or so tracks–a time-consuming  tedious but wonderful process.  Some things you can fix; some things you can’t. But the chance to make music–to get four adults in a studio, for the world to stand still enough for a few people to care about the same thing…something that isn’t providing water for the orphans or money for our children’s college funds…is a precious thing.

Dolf and Jon with a few friends at Wing Stop in Lubbock!

I drove by the Pat Street bachelor pad where I met, dated, and became engaged to Zach. Go Monday night bible study!

I stayed with Shonda, met up with Missy and Amanda, and of course Dolf and Jonathan.  Sweet times though I did have a few damsel-in-distress moments as I had to figure out how to load up a china cabinet into a truck that would need to stay overnight in Lubbock before heading back to Brownwood. (ZACH!!)

From there, I dove into the tracks at Lake Brownwood while my parents entertained my kids with donuts, donuts, and donuts at their lakehouse we call The Resort! The place is a dream…if we could ever get us kids there at the same. I grew up visiting my dad in a town an hour away, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time day in and day out with him as I did this trip. So that was a real treasure. 

We passed through Tyler, TX, on our way home to see my brother and his growing family. 4 kids with one on the way!  Their oldest, Tyler, always has a group of kids in his bedroom banging out worship tunes on various instruments. Eventually I sing a few tunes with them and for them, and we taught Austin how to play the song that Tyler and I wrote last time.  My brother always feeds us like kings, and the kids are in cousin-heaven. Josiah is the same age as Anna….(who looks a little like me!).

And… point would be………

At least I named this thing Memory Lane before I even started, and so I guess you have walked there with me.  That oughta do us for now then.  Better hit send on this now or never. I have too many loads of laundry and too many little details to re-load back into my normal life in the itchy hills of Tennessee.  Gosh, can’t a person get a breath out here?