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Posts Tagged ‘lessons’

It never ceases to amaze (and slightly frustrate) me how God uses situations with my children to remind me of the truth I know. It’s so blaringly obvious too, not just this subtle, “maybe that could apply to me as well.” No, it’s this in-your-face declaration of “you do know you’re behaving like a two year old, right?”

This morning Eliot decided he didn’t want his banana and breakfast bar cut up. He was perfectly content to eat those things, but for some reason, cutting them up defiled them in his mind and he’d have nothing to do with it. When he realized it was that or nothing, he broke down into hysterics. Not just the forced, dry eyed whine, but genuine, face soaking, snot running, wailing. His little heart broken over such a silly matter. What’s the deal? What’s the difference? He’s still getting what he needs. He’s still being fed. The flavor isn’t even going to change. The end is still the same. He will still be filled and fed. As I stand over him, listening to his keening I shake my head in disbelief and wonder at him.

That’s the first mistake! I’ve learned that I shouldn’t wonder, shouldn’t ponder, shouldn’t even think really about my children’s behavior if I don’t want to be convicted. Conviction follows my little monsters everywhere they go.

Anyway, as I wondered why in the world he had to freak out over a cut up breakfast bar, I couldn’t help but think about me and Andy right now. We’re not getting what we want. Not in the way we want it at least. We know were getting the best, we know the larger story is being written by a good Dad that we can trust, but we’re stuck looking at a cut up breakfast when we wanted the whole thing in our hands–our way.

And I don’t know where to go from there, because we’re stuck in that for a while. Not sure how long. Hope it’s not too long. It’s not the happiest of places. Just trying to rest in Him while we’re here, be in His presence and accept that HE is our promised land, not his stuff, not his easy gifts. That’s not always easy to remember, but it helps when I see Eliot, smiling face, full tummy, the trauma of his mutilated breakfast forgotten.

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There’s being frugal, and there’s being smart, and when you’re a busy mom, sometimes the two don’t work together. Like in that moment when you decide to finish off your kid’s orange juice because you don’t want it to go to waste. So you pick it up and start guzzling down that orangy goodness, only to find some unidentifiable glob of something sticking to the bottom inside of the cup. Yum!

Oh, and there’s a pretty good chance that if this happens, you will spit orange juice out your nose.

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Someone could write a book on this topic–not me–and probably already has, but there are a few things that I’ve learned are absolutely essential to surviving your day as a mom who teaches her kids at home. No, they really don’t have anything to do with the kids–you can read all of that in the book I mentioned that I’m sure someone out there has written. These are personal goals. Three simple steps to my daily survival that I’m sharing with any other home school moms out there who may be about to throw in the towel because they feel like some sort of hideous monster by 2:00 every day.

1. Daily Bread-or in most mornings cases, a daily morsel. Just a 3-5 minute snippet of truth that’s going to set your mind for the morning. It would be nice to get more, you know, 30-45 minutes of Bible reading, 15-20 minutes of prayer time, followed up with 10-15 glorious moments of journaling while sipping hot tea and listening to some relaxing classical guitar strumming out old hymns on a CD that you found for $9.99 at on of those Target stations where your kids are always begging to press the buttons. Yeah, that would be nice, but face it, you slept in too late, because you stayed up too late because you let the kids stay up too late doing some science project with Dad. I’m onto you.

Seriously, some of my favorites that are short but packed with awesome little grace nuggets are Comforts from the Cross, by Elyse Fitzpatrick; 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyers, and Whiter than Snow by Paul Tripp. Seriously, these dont take but a minute–that minute that you may have to lock yourself in the bathroom because the kids are mounting a riot if they don’t get their breakfast. You can do it.

2. Brush your teeth. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how easy it is to find yourself cleaning up from lunch and realizing you’ve left out this important step in your daily humanity.  Because seriously,  five year olds have NO tact and it’s a huge bummer when your kid tells you your breath stinks right in the middle of a really exciting grammar lesson–so disappointing–totally throws off your groove. You’re going strong with one of your best dialects, thinking you’re the most engaging and entertaining teacher ever and she’s like, ‘mommy, you’re stinky!”You can’t really recover from that.

3. Put on a bra. I’m not joking, and before you start crying “TMI!” think about it for a minute. It’s easy to think, “hey, if I can teach in my pjs, why bother?” and there’s some truth to that, but it’s gonna have a spectacular impact on your day. You wouldn’t think that one single article of clothing would make such a difference, but when things start dragging you down, it really helps to have that little lift, and honestly, the more kids you have, the more things need lifting.  If I were a better writer I could have really developed that metaphorically, but I think we’ll just take it at face value and leave it at that.

Obviously, getting up at 5:30am, working out, doing devotions, taking a shower, getting ready and fixing breakfast all before the wee ones are out of bed would probably make me feel like a million dollars, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

EVER.

Additionally obviously (that’s my new favorite phrase that I just made up), if you don’t stay at home with your kids all day you’re thinking, “well duh! Get up and get dressed like the rest of the world.” The thing is, for some of us, we home school just so that we DON’T have to get up and get dressed like the rest of the world. What I’m describing here is the fine line that separates blessedly casual and productive from dragging depressedly through the day.

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This was a fun exercise in creativity. After you read mine, head over to Dear 18 Me and write yours. Do it today and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 iTunes card!

18 Year Old Me

18 Year Old Me

Dear 18 year old me,

I (you) recently watched this episode of Star Trek (yeah, a day will come when you think it’s cool again, even though right now you roll your eyes whenever it comes on) where Captain Picard was mortally wounded and Q offered him a chance to go back to his youth and make changes that would keep him from dying in this particular accident. He made the changes, played it safe, and ended up not dying in the present. The problem was that his now present self was this pansy version of his real self, and he wasn’t anything like the successful, courageous and ambitious captain we all know and love. I guess the moral of the story was something like, “don’t be too hard on yourself, because your mistakes are what make you who you are.” Well it was a pretty predictable episode, not too profoundly presented, but I kind of have to agree with it a little in that there are a few mistakes you’re going to make that will change your life for the better. They’re going to really suck, but they will be used in a huge way to change who you are and what you believe.

That being said, here are just a few tiny pointers:

1. You still need to go to PCC. You’re going to meet your husband there. Go, try to complain less about the rules, and try not to get so bitter about the hypocrites or the legalism. You’ll learn from that too and realize that you’re one from time to time. Enjoy the beach more.

2. Call your folks more while you’re in college and be more honest with them about your struggles and why things are so frustrating. That dialogue could be very helpful. Call them more in general just to say “I love you.”

3. When you meet a crazy red head wearing Buddy Holly glasses and are strangely intrigued, go with that. You two are gonna make some cute babies! (Although you might re-think having him come live with you and your family for the summer BEFORE you get engaged-just sayin’.)

4. Work harder at maintaining a few of those college friendships-there are some good people you’re really going to miss.

5. Stop making statements about how things are going to be when you have kids. You’re clueless.

6. You’re going to have to work out a lot after the kids, so you might do yourself a favor and start earlier.

7. Enjoy your little debbies and coke a cola, because you’re going to learn about all sorts of nasties in them and won’t let yourself have them anymore.

8.  You really aren’t going to listen to Celine Dion forever, so you might as well stop now.

9. Don’t worry about being cast in the roles of little girls–you’re gonna get to fly!

10. Theater isn’t everything. That’s going to be a tough lesson to learn, I’m just telling it that you’ll learn it someday.

11. You aren’t a very good listener–you could avoid a lot of misunderstandings and awkward moments if you’d work on that.

12. Pay more for your wedding dress and less for your flowers–they aren’t going to be right anyway.

13. Don’t take your grandmas for granted. See them as much as you can.

14. Work harder at staying in touch with your brother–you guys won’t see each other much over the next few years.

15. Keep at it–He’s worth it!

PS. If you read this and were part of my life when I was 18 and you DID try telling me some of this . . .  sorry. Hey! I was 18!!! Who listens to anyone when they’re 18???

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As if I could have been disappointed! A fabulous date night, so many choices, so much inspiration. Between Greenville’s second anual Indie Craft Parade and my newest source of inspiration, Pinterest, (click link at your own risk) which, interestingly enough seems to have captivated many of my friends all at the same time, my brain is overflowing with ideas of things to make, repurpose and plan for, along with the motivation needed to do much of it. I’m loving it!  Loving the constant intake of creative ideas, inspiring images and creative beauty. Loving getting things done! I’ve got several items that I’ve put together thanks to all this inspiration, as well as three projects already in progress! First I’ll show you  some of this year’s craft parade treasures, then I”ll move to a few of the things I’ve been working on.  Just like last year, there were so many talented artists, among which were several of my friends, so it was hard to choose where to spend my little stash of birthday cash.

 

Hand-Knit head wrap by Soft Spoken. The dreads are in love!

Red Riding Hood-a Fairy Tale print by Cory Godby, undoubtedly one of my favorite local artists.

Terrarium done by Erin Tilson, who happens to be one of my friends-love buying handmade from friends!!!

This link is for her personal blog, but she’s working on a website for these gorgeous little babies right now. These would make charming Christmas gifts, so stay tuned to her blog to see when her new site launches.

An oh so fabulous market bag-forgot who I got this one from! oops!

A hedgehog pincushion, whom I have affectionately named Caesar. Well, I call him a hedgehog, she calls him a porcupine. Whatever.  He’s from Once Again Sam.

I also purchased a sweet little summer dress from Sew She Sews.

There were a few other little purchases, but that’s where the bulk of my moola went. Could have spent soooooo much more.

On To My Recent Creations

As I said, I’ve  got “make stuff” fever and I just hope it doesn’t stop. A few days before the craft parade we moved the recliner out of the bedroom and my “nursing nook” turned into a”craft corner.” I’m really enjoying it, and it does help to have a sweet little space of my own to work in.

 

 

If you look to the left you’ll see a basket overflowing with stretch knit shirts. After running across this cute little number on Pinterest, I decided that I could do that for myself with all those t-shirts I wasn’t wearing. I thought that working with a bigger garment for the first time would be easier for learning. Small pieces can be so frustrating! I’ll make one for Gill later.

So here’s my pile of shirts:

Two shirts that I like the cut of, but both of which have untreatable stains (a hazard of mommy-hood):

 

After so much cutting up and stitching back together that I was beginning to feel a bit like the Dr. Frankenstien of textiles, this was my end result.

I think I learned a lot on this first project. You’d see that if I let you close enough to look at the inside seam, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon! I’m learning things about design and placement of certain colors and fabrics, noticing for instance that if you attach a ribbon that has no stretch to a stretch knit, well, it won’t stretch anymore. Duh! Sometimes you have to make dumb mistakes, right? So I’m looking forward to taking that green shirt and making another, hopefully with less mistakes. 🙂

Also Made a circle skirt  for Gilly and a couple of headbands that I’m in LOVE with. It’s wonderful to put to use some of those lovely old buttons and laces I got from Grandma Hazel.

                  

 

That’s it for now! I’m going to try to slash up a couple more t-shirts! Find me on Pinterest if you want to see some more of the lovelies that are inspiring me right now!

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We’re well into week four of our school year and starting to settle into a bit of a routine. The scariness of teaching two separate grades at the same time is wearing off, but the reality of trying to do so with a needy toddler underfoot is sinking in. As I reach the end of the day I find myself often looking at the whole as a failure, noticing mostly the times I got frustrated, the times I was short with the kids or didn’t give Eliot enough attention, the things I didn’t get done, the gifts I didn’t give thanks for, and all the ways I lived “no” rather than “yes.”   Well, that obviously won’t do with 32 weeks to go will it?

I’m finding it helps if I can take it one moment at a time. Looking back just isn’t a good idea at this point in life. I have to take the moment as it comes, ask for just enough grace to get through that one. It goes back to naming the gifts. Each moment is a gift and I have to notice it as that, live in it, take it in and know that it’s good because He is a giver of only good gifts. Moments of NOISE, when all three of them have things to say at the same time, moments of exasperation when the four year old is having a break down over her spelling, moments of laughter when I inadvertently make silly noises as I’m teaching them how to form letters, moments of pride when Gill cranks out the number ‘8’ correctly the very first time, moments of blessed peace when something soft is playing and they’re working on their own, moments of jealousy when I lay Eliot down for a nice cozy nap,  and moments of bedlam when I’m trying to get them all out the door to make it to a gym class on time. Oh, and also moments of disgust when I’m sitting on the edge of the tub washing out Eliot’s stinky diapers and asking whose fool idea it was to use cloth (geez, I’m trying to save the kid’s butt and planet at the same time, the least he could do is poop just once a day for me!) Anyway, they’re all gifts. I have  to be reminded so often. I had to be reminded today. I’m writing about it because I figure maybe someone else out there needs to be reminded as well.            

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It was so needed.

It had been creeping up on me a little more each week, gnawing at my subconscious, belittling my defences and questioning my capabilities as a parent, a wife, a contributing member of society. At any given time, I had 14 games of Words with Friends going! App DELETED!

My froggydex on Pocket Frogs has 99 of the 100 challenges completed, and over 1500 frogs cleared in the froggydex. Only 18,000 to go!!! App Deleted!

Cut the Rope lost my data a while back, so I lost four boxes filled with all the stars and haven’t been able to get bak into that groove. App Deleted!

Touch Cats . . . .  Deleted!

Warship . . . .  Deleted!

Worms 2 . . . . . .  Deleted!

Chop Chop Ninja . . . . it just sounds so cute . . . . BALETED!

Then there’s my 10 different groups on Facebook, my Twitter feed, my Instagram feed, my Pinterest feed, and . . . . of course, my Star Trek re-runs. Even listing it out I’m amazed that I find time to absorb all of this! Not even to mention WHY, just HOW? How is my house not ten times worse than it already is? How are my children not running completely wild as opposed to only occasionally running wild? How am I surviving on the five hours a night I allow myself . . . well, the kids allow me as they drag me out of bed begging for breakfast?

I guess we should have spent more time before hand really delving into the motivations for this attempt, and dealing with possible resistance. It wasn’t  until we were neck deep in that we realized there would be some pretty formidable players in this tech free week game! Next time we will be better armed, better rationed, and among more companions. Next time we will have more players committed to the task. Is that confusing? I was on Ambien for some of this writing, so some things may have made perfect sense in my head but sound like utter nonsense when I re-read them. Actually, I’ve already had to re-write most of this and I’m just trying to salvage what I can. Stupid Ambien.  As most of this was written during the week, it’s in present tense that doesn’t make sense for right now–don’t let that confuse you.

Day 1: So How’s It Going?

Twitter, which I really only started to doing to stay in touch with Andy isn’t tempting me too much, but the Facebook is calling me LOUDLY!  I keet getting notifications on my phone! The red dot letting me know I’ve got messages or comments or something so utterly important is driving me nuts. I don’t miss the feed though. I never realized how much time I spent on the stupid feed.Already though, I’m feeling more free. Free from the iPhone games! Free to play checkers with Gillian and let her beg for two more games, even though I’m going to beat her at every one (not for much longer though!) I’m free to say yes when Liam asks to burry me in the sand on our date, even though I’m wearing my gym clothes! Free to let Eliot play in the kiddie pool because what else do I have to do but slather sun screen on to little kids?

I was free today to clean out our utility room and empty out this desk in there, extradite the spiders that had found sanctuary for several years and haul it up into the attic, Yes, by myself I might add, making me feel rather super-womanesqe and in turn rather annoyed that I couldn’t brag about it to the rest of the world out there.  I then hauled the new freezer (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!) in from the back porch and got it set up. BooYah! This girl’s guns are loaded! Woot Woot!

Dinner was actually ready when andy got home the schedule for the evening laid out nicely like the next day’s outfit .

We knew Bedtime would be a challenge. I’m stocked up on Ambien to ensure sleep, but that’s not to say there won’t be some weird side effets, like my face falling off or whatever. (What?! I just left that in there so you could see how weird I am on that stuff! There are all sorts of strange things that I wrote that had to be deleted-the post probably would have been a lot more entertaining had I left them here.)

Day 2: SUCKEDDDD!

Wow, about how much this day sucked. To explain why, I would really have to go into my expectations as I all but delivered them to God along with his invitation to join me in my little tech free week. The invite might have said something like, “In Honor of You Dude!” Can you imagine how pleased he was to be invited to an event where I would be naming off whimpy little sacrifice after whimpy sacrifice, followed by my perfectly reasonable expectations of what His response should be?

Needless to say, it didn’t start well. It’s not so much a matter of the temptation getting to hard–that is there–I had to jump on it once to talk to someone I hadn’t been able to connect with, but don’t feel badly about that. THe problem is the void, which I intended to fill with scripture, worship music, creativity, and productivity is being fought for. Hard. There seem to be a few powers out there that are pretty pleased with the amount of time I waste on insignificant media and they’re being duche bags (can I say that?) pretty much. Thankfully, I’ve got a good man who’s willing to come home early and help me do battle. 🙂 It was rough though-just some serious faith faltering on my part, a lot of depression and discouragement (not about the media, just in general), a bit of despondency, lots of crying and tossing about, not a pretty sight really.  It was crazy!

Day 3:

Whew! A much better day. Enjoying being off of a lot of that stuff really, but discouraged that I don’t have more time freeing up. I don’t know WHEN I did all that stuff before, because I’m still running out of time at the end of the day! It’s still almost 11:00 and I”m not asleep yet. Granted, 11:00 or even 11:30 is better than 1:30 or 2:00. There’s just all this pressure to be able to have a blog post at the end of this full of pictures and a grandiose list of all I accomplished during my media fast.  SIGH. (WHY AM I SO PEOPLE APPROVAL NEEDY!?)

Today the homeschooling reality started to creep up on my and I’m struggling to not freak out over all I have to try to get done in a day with two different grade levels AND a two foot tornado tearing through the house. I can’t think about that right now though. Tomorrow.

Day Four: I forgot to write anything about this day, so it mustn’t have been very notable.

Day Five: Went to spend the day with my folks, so I was plenty occupied without my media. The kids struggled a little (especially when they saw Grandad’s new flat screen t.v.)because there are obviously more restrictions to spaces and objects at their grandparent’s house, so it’s harder to keep them occupied without a movie, but we didn’t cave.

Day Six: I miss my blog. I’m not going to add the games back to my phone, and that feels good. It’s hard not to put the kids on a movie when I need some peace and quiet. They’re doing better though at using their imagination. It’s super fun to sit and listen to the games they make up when they’re forced to use their brain to entertain themselves rather then letting them just soak in nonsense.

Day Seven: We broke the fast a little early and let them watch a movie today. Had a major project to do and just couldn’t get anything done with the constant interruptions. I felt a little discouraged at that, like we hadn’t really learned anything if we just shoved a movie at them to keep them out of our hair.  How else does one get anything done?

Looking back at it a few days later, I’m not so discouraged. They’re running around shouting “activating sequel shooters!” and “suction to Malarky Mansion!” I don’t know what it means, but I love it! I don’t know that it’s possible to eliminate all the media from our lives, or that I would want to, but I would recommend a tech free week to anyone who’s feeling drained by all of the senseless distractions. I’d like to do it again soon for an extended time, if only I can find a loophole to keep writing my blog!

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