Leaning In

It’s funny how even my plants can teach me lessons.

I recently placed my spider plant near the front window.  It only took overnight to perk right back up.  I’m thinking that actually watering it may have helped a bit {wink}.

I am no botanist but I do know that these plants move towards the sun.  Even my flowering perennials outside perk up and open wide in the afternoon sun.

Every flower"s reachin' for the sun

What strikes me is that these plants naturally lean towards the light.  They know where the real life is.

I forget that sometimes.  I forget that leaning into the sun is warm and loving and right.  I forget how the warmth can encompass me and sanctify my heart.

The days get busy and life passes by quickly. We spend days, weeks, months just going through the motions.

I don’t want to live my life like that.

We are here for a mere blink of the eye and I want to be present for it all.

I want a firm grip on the truth during times of grief, doubt, anger, and sadness.

I want to cherish it in times of joy, happiness, peace, and love.

Lord, help me to remember to Lean Into You.


*image allfr3d via Compfight

I am not an airplane


*see update at the end of this post:

I have been writing this post in my head for quite awhile.

I started Hectic Sweetness in 2008.  It started as a sporadic homeschooling blog with Newbery Book Reviews and my favorite quotes included.  My very first post had a picture of my cloth diapers hanging on the clothesline and I remember writing about savoring motherhood even then. Unfortunately, I didn’t move my blog correctly from Homeschool Blogger before they closed down and I lost all those old posts.  Sigh.

In early 2013, I took a writing course and started spending most of my free time reading, researching, and praying for guidance.  I started posting, gaining a few readers along the way, and finding some kindred spirits online.  I was enjoying the process but began finding myself more anxious and upset when I wasn’t writing.

Writing, homeschooling, along with being a wife and Mom were not co-existing well with this introverted Mama.  I felt emotionally drained and irritable more often.

Then, I came down with a mysterious illness mid-August 2013 and the panic attacks began.  The new school year was starting and I was a mess.  I was spending my days just surviving through the anxiety and panic and not knowing what was wrong with me.  I had no answers.  I was spending too much time at my doctor’s office.

My writing came to a halt.

I spent months recovering from whatever it was and started my slow journey back from anxiety.   Although we were having a tough school year, I felt like I was getting my life back in order and recovering well.

Then, my precious father-in-law died of a massive heart attack.

Shock, pain, numbness gripped me.  A few times I found myself grasping for breath over those first couple months.

I couldn’t write.  I had no words.

Along the painful journey of grief,  I found peace.  I found hope.  I found beauty.  I found goodness.

And for the first time that I could remember,  I found it through avenues other than writing which had been my solace.  Many, many months I just could not put pen to paper.

I have discovered that I love doodling, and coloring, and creating art.  Instagram is amazingly fun.  I love planning for my homeschool year (I seriously am a homeschooling nerd). I am embracing my home and  having so much fun planning, decorating, loving on my kids and relaxing by the pool.

Which brings me to the post title- I am not an airplane (inspired from this post of the same name- love, love Sarah Mackenzie’s beautiful words- always!).

Portofino                                                                                                   Nico Cavallotto via Compfight

The sky IS limited for me because I am not an airplane.  I am a human.  I have limits.

God is speaking and I have just started to listen.

I cannot do it all.

I’ve tried.  Oh, I’ve tried.

I’ve loved the years I’ve had to dream and write.  I love where God has brought me through this.  I am so proud of the fact that this post (one of my very favorite blog posts) was included in an actual PRINT book:

No More Perfect Kids (page 34- just sayin’ {wink})

I have loved this space, but it’s time to move in a different direction.

I am hanging up the closed sign on Hectic Sweetness.

I applaud the women who can homeschool and/or work, blog, write, and have a seemingly normal life.  I can’t.  I get too caught up in myself and my writing.  Obsessive, maybe?

I want to be present and I want to do it well.

I realize I could just not post anymore, but I needed to write this for me.  I needed to give myself permission to say goodbye and not leave it open ended.  I’ve had a wonderful season of writing and maybe I will again someday, but not today.

For today, I will follow God’s leading.

And redecorate my dining room wall.

It’s time.

Thank you all for your heartfelt comments during my time here and for those of you who have journeyed and continue to journey with me and my crazy self- I love you all.  

Much Grace and Peace~ Cheri


*UPDATE 2/2016*

So, I meant every word I said in this space back in July 2015.  I did feel God’s leading to take a step back.  During that time I questioned why I really wanted to stop writing. Why did I want to walk away from something that soothed my soul?

I am an introvert and a thinker.  I spend a lot of time inside my head.  That is a good thing and a curse at times (just ask my poor friends who sometimes can’t figure me out).  I needed to step away.  I was caught up in courses and ebooks on marketing and growing a blog, and gaining thousands of followers.  I was overwhelmed at what I thought I wanted to do.

I lost sight of my passion.  I was looking at the outside world to give me credibility and worth.  I had stepped away from God’s hands and my desire to use this space to glorify his love and truth.

Stepping away has allowed me to find myself again.  To finally realize that blog stats and numbers are not why I’m here.  I’m here to encourage women to find themselves in their busy lives and to love on their families the best they can.  Whether it’s one of you or thousands doesn’t scare me anymore.

It’s community that’s real- not numbers.

So, welcome back!  I’m cleaning things up a bit and have a couple of fun things in the works that I’m hoping to roll out in the next couple of months.  Stay tuned!


on gratitude

love notes ♥Creative Commons License Jessica Garro via Compfight

I have a terrible memory.  I can rattle off my 14-digit library card number without thinking,  yet I hesitate at what my daughter’s first word was.  I just don’t retain the important and precious things well.  Yet it is important to remember.  To remember where we’ve been and how far (hopefully) we’ve come.

Being thankful is tied with our satisfaction in life.  

 I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember to capture thoughts, prayers, quotes, and memories.  My gratitude journal is different.  I write down snippets of life that I am grateful for.  It sounds simple yet it’s not always easy.  Some days I can number off many things that make me give thanks.  Other days, not so much.  It’s those off days that I need it the most.

Making a regular practice of writing in a gratitude journal will benefit you in many ways.

We all have little snapshots of life that we forget, no matter how cute or important they were at the time.  My youngest would say she was “drinky” instead of thirsty.  I never thought I would forget that adorableness, yet it completely slipped my mind until I went back through my journal a year later.

Taking a few moments regularly to record your thankfulness will help you remember how much these gifts have sweetened your life.

When you see how much you have to be grateful for you will be more content with what you do have.  As I look back over my journal, it’s the moments with my kids and hubby that I am most thankful for, not anything I own.   If I find I’m thankful for more materialistic things then it’s time to step back and take a hard look at my attitude.  If I’m having a hard time coming up with anything to be grateful for, it’s time to examine my heart.  There is usually something wrong that needs to be dealt with.

A gratitude journal not only helps you to remember those small moments, but it also helps you to focus your life on things that matter, things that are eternal.

We head through life at the speed of sound anymore.  A gratitude journal compels you to slow down, and slowing down is good for your soul.

Do you keep a gratitude journal?  I would love to hear!


love your now


Kids at dusk
Paco CT / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

His boy-man feet are resting on my lap right now.  Those feet have played countless hours of football and basketball and carried him on his scooter for many, many years.  He’s almost always on the go and he drops things all over the place. He’s working hard to overcome some learning struggles, loves The A-Team and Mythbusters.  I am living my dream.

She’s on the cusp of womanhood.  One foot in being a kid, the other testing the adult waters ever so slowly. She throws her head back when she laughs and she’s compassionate.  She can go from serious to goofy in a matter of seconds.  She’s very intuitive and, good or bad, she feels others’ pain, sometimes intensely. She is one of the bravest people I know.  I am living my dream.

The little one keeps me young.  She’s full of drama.  She will tell you her favorite thing to do is cuddle with Mommy.  My heart bursts as I get my kisses and hugs throughout the day.  She holds her own with the older ones.  She adores all her friends and is definitely the one and only extravert of the family.  I am living my dream.

Who would have known, 19 years ago, when we met, that we would be blessed with this family.  He was a guy who thought I was interesting and funny.  He wrote emails and letters and called me every night.  Now he texts from work and always calls when one of us is out of town.  He is a saint who sometimes forgets where the broom is.  He works very hard to provide for his family and is always honest.  I am living my dream.

It’s so easy to look beyond these perfect and messy gifts when the day to day mundane takes over.

Love your now.

This day is good.


Sharing with Mom2Mom, Hip Homeschool Moms#tellhisstory,  and Reflect.


Reach {Five Minute Friday}

It always seems beyond my reach.  Just beyond the tip of my fingers.  It’s beautiful yet fleeting.  It teases and frustrates.  Whenever I feel like I have it all figured out it morphs into an enormous mountain that I surely could never scale.

Nature & Scenery


The balance of motherhood and life.  The balance of homeschooling while not losing my mind.

It’s a lie.  Balance is not static.  It’s a constant.  It’s moving.

Accepting the fact that certain days and seasons of life will be out of balance has been freeing.  Balance is out of my reach because in my mind balance looks like perfection.

I have let go.  I have stopped reaching for the elusive balance.  I start each morning not knowing what my day will bring.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have plans and goals and checklists.  What I’ve let go of is the striving.

Kids get sick and throw the day off.  Deadlines come.  Papers need to be written.  Math meltdowns happen.  Cuddles are the only way to calm down at times.

That’s life as a Mom.  Life as a homeschooling Mom.  Setting aside my plans of balance and embracing what comes each day.

Life filled with grace for myself and others set on my path.

Nature & Scenery

That IS within my reach.


Joining other writers for the flash mob of writing out of our hearts on Five Minute Fridays.  One Word.  Five minutes.  All are welcome.  Find us here.




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