27 March 2014

Words to Remember


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

24 March 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: A future Sommelier.
Joshua: A future connoisseur of chocolate milkshakes.
Jessica: A future with endless opportunities and dreams to follow.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

A few of my favorites from this past week include:
This light and simplicity of the every day captured here, the wild call of ocean waters found here, the rays of light filtering on this beautiful face of youth and the unique eye and angles of this set of photographs.

19 March 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: Discovering Spring.
Joshua: Gazing in hopes of Spring.
Jessica: Dreaming of Spring.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

18 March 2014


Monday is for clean kitchens, groggy mornings, strong coffee and lunch dates. It's for staying in your yoga pants, because sometimes that just happens. It's for morning scrambles to the school and early afternoons of bed making. This Monday called for a touch of green for St. Patricks Day and a walk in the park to enjoy these warmer days. Spring is in the air, I feel it through the cool winds and brisk air. I can hear it on the voices of sweets birds softly singing and I can see it on the tiny buds that are perched on winter branches.

We are ready Spring.
Mondays are always a bit better with warmer days and sunny skies.

14 March 2014

Embracing the World around you

One thing life has taught me is how easy it is to become consumed in the world around you. To become lost in a sea of chores, to dive head first into your work or studies, to become consumed with exercise or personal hobbies. It has also taught me that you can easily fall into such traps, and yes, social media is one of those traps. I am guilty of submerging myself into all of the above.

But somehow, something has changed.

I can't exactly pinpoint where or when this change came about, but I feel as if my eyes have been opened to the world around me. My world is filled with amazing children who thirst for my time. Why would I waste such precious time on social media, fussing over the details of my home or stressing about our daily activities? I understand I can't exactly let my house go or ignore our actives, but I can prioritize and learn to let messes stay until I have extra time to attend to them. Children are quick to pick up on our stress and anxiety, and that is something I don't want mine to sense in me.

These days I want to consume my family and the joys that I find in life and I no longer worry what others will think. Because yes, when you open yourself up online you do worry what others will think or say. I've always tried not to care, but it's almost as if it is in our nature. When you completely open up and expose yourself you do care. My eyes have been opened and well, frankly, I am just too old to worry or care what others think. What I need to worry about is whether we practiced our flashcards, if I checked Jonas' homework, are the soccer uniforms clean and ready to go, did we save money this month (because we have college, x three), are the lunches packed, did my children fall asleep with a smile, did Jon and I set time aside for ourselves and have I chatted and caught up with dear friends.

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, then you probably know that my account was recently deleted somehow. Yes, I was angry and frustrated over loosing all those photos, but honestly, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I like change and new beginnings. While I was really (really) upset, I eventually realized that I just didn't care. It's only social media. I have plenty of photographs that can replace the lost ones and as for the followers, well I don't care about that either. Social media has taught me that people are very petty, they usually have an agenda and they are not genuine. Harsh words? Yes, but there is certainly some truth there. By starting a new Instagram account I have met some amazing men and women who seem genuine with no strings attached.

Change and new beginnings are good for the soul.
A clean slate is kind to the mind.
I am embracing the world around me.
One day at at time.

Where is all this stemming from?
One day I looked at Jonas and realized that he is eight. EIGHTS YEARS OLD. Almost nine. How is it possible that he is so grown up? Does time truly go that fast? Well, yes it does. This may sound selfish, but I don't have time to waste. If something brings me down or emits a negative sense, then I will release it. If I have too many items on my agenda, then I will say no to new tasks or commitments. If I find that I am becoming overwhelmed, then I will take deep breathes and a few steps backwards.

I parent first.
I embrace my marriage first.
I focus on our stability, the restaurant. Our home. School.
I seek joy and happiness in our world.
My world.
And this is my time.

12 March 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: These days it seems he is always in his soccer uniform.
Joshua: Excitemet over a lost tooth.
Jessica: Soaking in the signs of spring.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

06 March 2014

side by side.

jess benders
My little helper walks by my side with her pink plastic fisher price camera securely clutched between her small fingers. When I stop and gather my thoughts into a tightly bound bundle she stops too. We have a rhythm, my helper and I. We walk in unison. Step by step, side by side.

These days our mother daughter relationship couldn't be closer. From the moment we rise to the moment we rest our sleepy heads this little daughter of mine is by my side. Our actions move in a rhythmic pattern that boasts a poetic love and bond. I can't help but remember my own childhood and sharing that same bond with my own mother. There are no words for unconditional love, there are no words for the love a mother feels for her children.

I gladly walk with my daughter, every day, side by side.
On this day, we walked around the restaurant snapping photographs here and there. I held with my camera, with an extra grip, and she held her pink plastic fisher price camera. We snapped photos of each other, of the empty rooms, of rooms filled with customers and, of course, we snapped several photographs of food.

And as we finished, I snapped a few photographs of my little helper enjoying her mini peanut butter sundae.

*This post is sponsored by FabKids
FabKids is JustFab's children's fashion club, started by a team of parents including mom and actress Christina Applegate. FabKids is a convenient way for busy parents to shop. It's an outfit club -- so parents get monthly selections of super affordable, high-quality fashions personalized for their kids.

Check out more of their spring trends, for boys and girls, at Fabkids.com

04 March 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: His current passion; reading about the American presidents.
Joshua: Taking a moment to enjoy a quick breakfast before hitting the slopes.
Jessica: My dreamer, forever lost in her thoughts.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

A few of my favorites from this past week include: the dreamy sepia feel found here, the small moments captured here, the every day found here and the bond between siblings here.