Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The One About Negativity Eating Away My Thoughts

Negativity. I've noticed lately that when I'm around a lot of negativity, it seems to strongly affect me. I'm a strong believer in not allowing other people to affect your moods. I teach this to my kids from when they are a young age. I tell them that just because 'x' is acting that way, doesn't mean you can. I encourage them not to let other people's moods affect their own moods. When I take a deep looking at myself, I see that I do the same exact thing that my children do. I allow the negativity in & start to think poorly about myself or others around me.

I've been a part of a message board for about 7 years & over those years there has been a lot of negativity towards husbands. It disappoints me to read about Christian women who are so negative and lacking in grace towards their husbands. It got me to thinking today. "My husband never does laundry. My husband rarely does dishes and picks up after himself." Instead of focusing on the positives (He works really hard to provide for our family, he makes himself lunches most mornings & will help w/ things if he is home & I ask. He's a great day, attentive spouse & obviously cares a lot for me & for the children.) But instead of focusing on those things, I started nit picking the negatives. Thankfully, the Lord tugged my heart and pointed out that I was allowing what I was reading to affect how I felt. I don't truly feel as tho he doesn't do anything around here. Sure, sometimes I get overwhelmed and do feel that way, but for the most part I don't. I don't truly feel as tho I'm always picking up after him or cleaning up messes he makes.

It goes along with what Matt & I have been reading in Love & War. One of the things that the authors talked about in the chapter we're reading now, is to not let negativity creep in and destroy your marriage. It's easy to let outside influences in & to start thinking bad thoughts when that's all you hear or read all the time.

So... here's to trying to keep the positive the forerunner in my thoughts & heart.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The One Where I Break Down My School Day

I've been feeling guilty over the fact that we complete our school day in about 3-4 hrs each day. We begin by 8 each morning and are done by noon each day. Rarely have we gone past noon & most day we're done quite a bit before noon. I was trying to figure out if we're skipping something important & I realized we are skipping some things. We don't do breaks or lunches. We work straight through, taking a 5 min break to grab a snack around 10. We don't have to get from one room to another. I don't count P.E. into our school day nor do I count music. We don't do home room or assemblies. So I guess, we probably spend about the same time as the public school does on academics.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Deep One About Agreements

How many agreements with Satan do you have? I've been mulling this over for a few days. Matt & I are reading a book by the Eldreges. In this book they were talking about agreements we have made w/ Satan.

God created us perfect... in His image. Our bodies, our souls, our minds, our hearts are His when we give our lives to Him. We are His children & loved deeply by Him. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and have been wounded deeply numerous times. Through our pain and our wounds, we put up walls to protect ourselves. We say we're not good enough, we're not pretty enough, we aren't smart enough. We're not good parents. Our lives are horrible. We're undesirable and unlovable. No one could possibly want us fully in our brokenness.

Guess where those lies come from? Yep... Satan. And if we allow ourselves to be enveloped by these lies, if we continue to live in these lies, we're agreeing with Satan. Yes, I'm undesirable, so I'm going to put up this wall of defense and not let anyone prove that to me again. Yes, I'm unlovable, so I'll just admit it and live with that. Yes, I'm not good enough, but it's all I've got, so I'm stuck w/ who I am. These are all agreements...

I, personally, have so many agreements with Satan right now. They all stem from past experiences in my life. They seem like legitimate things... I could tell you the negative things I feel about myself and then give you a reason to back up why I feel that way. I'm the queen of building up walls to protect myself. Unfortunately, it means I miss opportunities to have deeper friendships, deeper relationships w/ those I love. It means I miss opportunities in life because I think "Oh, I'm not smart enough to do that" and don't go after it.

The Lord didn't create me to be this way... He wants me to break the agreements I have w/ Satan and move forward in my life, friendships & relationships. He wants me to blossom into the person He created me to be. It's so hard to step outside of the things I'm familiar with because they are comfortable, even if they hurt.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The One About Grace

This summer I was hurt deeply by someone who I care deeply for and who cares for me. It cut me to the core & I've been struggling with relationships ever since. It has made me question the believability of people & realize even more deeply the humanity of those I love & surround myself with. I realized that there is no one who is 100% reliable. We are all human and unless we choose to share our deepest thoughts and feelings w/ another person, they don't know our every thought and action. We all have secrets. Things we hide from each other. Things we'd be mortified to have come to the surface.

My human side builds up walls to protect myself. I'm not sure when this started for me... but I've done that as long as I can remember. I pull back, sharing less & less of myself w/ people I don't feel 'safe' with. (And believe me, there are few people I feel fully safe with.. few that I feel have my back no matter what I share with them. Who love me the same no matter what. Who will keep my secrets, pray for me & help me in times of need. That is a 'safe' person for me.) I put up walls between myself & the Lord as well. I guess in some ways I put Him on the same level as the rest of us. I know, intellectually, this isn't right, but it's hard to throw myself into a relationship with someone who isn't tangible when those who are tangible are unreliable. I find that it's hard to reach out to Him & let myself be loved by Him. In a lot of ways, I think I 'punish' myself, feeling I'm not worthy of the love He is so graciously giving to me. And I'm not. That's the beauty of grace, after all. Not being worthy of His love, but being given it freely anyway.

And so I struggle... As a Christian, I am to extend the same grace to those around me. Building up walls of separation is the opposite of extending grace. It may make me feel protected, but I'll never know where the Lord can take a friendship if I don't allow myself to be vulnerable now & then.

As Thanksgiving season approaches & the Advent season comes right afterwards, I'm thinking a lot about what I have to be thankful for. There is so much... but for today I'm thankful for Grace. The grace the Lord gives to us. The grace friends & family have given to me. The grace I'm learning to give to my children, my family, & my friends. Grace...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The One With Homeschool Confessions

I haven't blogged in ages. I don't feel like there is much to yap about these days. My days in and out are the same mundane thing. Schooling, after school chores or programs, Friday School, church, church activities and so on. Not a whole lot changes from week to week.

But I came here today to talk about homeschooling. I am not enjoying it these days. If I had to be completely honest with myself I don't think I've ever fully enjoyed it, as a teacher. I do it because I feel I should. I feel it's the best thing for our family. I don't enjoy it tho. I get kind of jealous when I hear other homeschool moms talking about it like it's fun and full of great adventures. Frankly, I haven't found that yet.

I don't enjoy teaching them how to read. It's frustrating to me when we've gone over the same thing 50,000 times and they *still* don't get it. I hate giving tests... one child rebels at the mere mention of the word 'test'. He forgets everything we learned that week and does it however he thinks is right. One child is distracted by anything and everything & I'm constantly have to get on her to PAY ATTENTION!!! Another child does the minimal work he can squeak by with. He could do more, he could do better, but frankly, after dealing w/ the arguments from one child and the PAY ATTENTION with another plus trying to teach another to read, write and learn 'rithmetic, I don't have the energy or desire to push him as much as he should be pushed.

And then on top of that, I have a preschooler who gets into EVERYTHING... or distracts us. Which is it? Let her color on walls or have to raise my voice to be heard over her?

Not every day is like this.... but there are more negative days than positive days to homeschooling these days. When am I going to start enjoying it? :/

Monday, June 20, 2011

The One Where I Question My Calling

I've been feeling lost in my "career" lately. On one hand I enjoy being home with my children: caring for them & taking care of our family home. One the other hand I feel as tho I am nothing: a nobody in this world. I feel like I want a career, a purpose, a way to get out there beyond my home & my children and DO something with my life.

But I'm trapped because I feel I need to stay home and care for my children. It's my 'calling' and my purpose at this time in my life. I have friends who have accomplished a lot in life & they are my age. I have a friend who was in the military... an officer & did amazing, life-changing things w/ her life & she's my age. I have friends who chose to do careers over starting a family right away & they have done a lot w/ their lives and I'm amazed by them. There's a twinge of regret about starting my family when I did... and then guilt for feeling regret because my children are all a blessing & I cannot imagine life w/out any one of them.

I guess I kind of wish I was more than "just" a Mom. I am not currently feeling that it is a "higher calling". I am not currently feeling that this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I'm feeling a bit directionless & like I need to do something more. I'm just not sure what. I'm a doula, but can't start my business due to the fact that babies come whenever they want and I can't guarantee that I'll have a sitter for my children when someone is going to have a baby. I was a midwifery student, but couldn't find a preceptor to work under. I am registered to start school in the fall to finish my teaching degree, but the loands are a bit daunting & I'm not sure I want to go into debt over this when I don't REALLY want to teach in the school systems.

This is turning more into a processing post than anything. I want to feel as tho my "job" as SAHM & Housewife is my higher calling, but I don't. I hate feeling directionless and lost. And I wonder... what is my higher calling? What is my purpose here? Why did God choose to put me on this planet? It seems like it must be for more than what I'm doing....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The One Where We Begin To Get Organized

It's been a little over a week since I posted about needing organization. I have since received both Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores. Being the good Mom that I am, I had to read the chores one first and put it into action. I've been pleasantly surprised that they children seem to like it. It helps them to get everything they need to get done & reminds them of what needs to be done. Of course I still have to say "Check your chore pack" and such, but for the most part it's given me less frustration and put the chores into their hands more. I like that A LOT.

I've begun reading Managers of Their Homes. I like it as well and it's giving me some good ideas. Being summer, I'm not sure how much we'll stick tightly to a schedule, but I can see it helping a lot during the school year.

I've been trying to start my days earlier. It seems to help my spirits a bit to get up earlier in the day, go for a walk & do my daily devotions prior to the children waking up.

So organization is starting to happen.... just slowly. I still need to think up an IF/Then chart. It's not quite as easy as I thought it would be tho...

Monday, May 23, 2011

The One Where We Need Organization!

Managing the home, managing the children, managing the schooling, managing the household bills, groceries, etc is becoming a task that feels so incredibly overwhelming lately. A task?! Try a bazillion tasks. I actually enjoy going to staff meetings & staffing support groups just to step away from my reality for a few moments and get a breather. Some days I think having a job outside of the home would be lovely. Only problem is... all these things would still be waiting for me so it would actually add to my work load.

One of the books I'm reading is "Homeschooling With a Meek & Quiet Spirit" by Teri Maxwell. It's a pretty good book. One of those books where you can take a lot from, but leave what won't work for your family in it w/out feeling guilty. :) It's a good read so far & is giving me some wonderful ideas. I've decided to purchase both Managers of Their Home & Managers of Their Chores from the Maxwells and see if I can work them into our lives (therefore hopefully making our lives a little less overwhelming and a bit more manageable?? I hope!)

As far as parenting goes, that has been a chore in itself lately! Erich is hitting that awful stage where he has to push the limits as far or further than they can go. I don't like this stage. It's constant discipline, constant redirection and constant frustration (on my part!!) The book suggests making an If/Then chart. I think I'm going to do this. Basically each negative action has a predetermined consequence. So the child knows that if the do 'x' the consequence is 'y'. There's not question about it. No thinking it over for Mom (once it's established). I think that may help Erich especially. Even if he doesn't want them, he NEEDS firmly set boundaries at this point in his life. He's obviously unable to set them for himself and needs to know I'm going to set them and not budge on them.

I'll definitely blog more about how these things are going after we get started on them. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One With More Parenting Thoughts

Last Friday I was asked what I do for parenting and I froze. I wasn't prepared & I didn't really explain it well. I generally do not speak of how I parent my children, especially around the more punitive mindsets that I am around 99% of the time.

So I started think about what I DO. What tools are in my tool box? I don't have one pat answer for that. Honestly, I think that parenting would be easier if I did have one pat answer for that. If they do 'x' then I spank. If they do 'y' then I spank. That sounds so much easier in a lot of ways.

My toolbox is full of other tools, though. Here's what I do: I assess the situation. I see what is underneath the tantrum or disrespect. I try to hit the root of the problem rather than just the outward appearance of the problem. Typically if a child is upset and tantruming there is a deeper issue. Are they feeling sad?Neglected? Tired? Hungry? Do they need some extra one on one time with you? Taking care of the inner problem is much more important than taking care of the outward appearance. You can't spank out heart issues. You can spank them in deeper, making it so your children will learn to hide them better & then have them come out later in life when you can no longer spank them.

I think it's good to remember that God created us with all the emotions we have: anger & sadness included. It's ok to be angry. It's ok to feel sad. It's ok to feel frustrated and not want to do what someone asks you to do. Those things are fine. However, how you show those things is what can be wrong. You can't spank out anger... you can drive it deeper and force a person to 'fake happiness' in fear of being hit again. When they are adults and have anger they won't know how to show it properly. If you teach your children to use their words and say "I'm so angry because..." or teach them to leave the room until they simmer down then they will know how to deal w/ it as an adult. They can use the same tools you give them as children later in life.

What is parenting anyway? It's training and bringing up people to become well rounded adults, isn't it? Our children are only children for such a short time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The One About Silent Grief

It's called silent grief. It's the type of grief that you keep bottled up inside and mostly pertains to infant or pregnancy loss. There seems to be no time limit on how long you hold onto that grief. I've spoken to women who had an early pregnancy loss and still teared up thinking about it 20 years later. It's the type of grief you don't know what to do with. One one hand it seems that it shouldn't be such a big deal. The pregnancy only lasted 6, 10, 12 weeks.... you weren't even showing yet and barely felt pregnant.

But let me tell you about that moment a woman finds out she's expecting. When it's a wanted pregnancy it's exciting. You start dreaming from the moment you see that positive. You wonder if it's a boy or a girl. You wonder what name you will choose... or you already have them chosen & can't wait to see if it fits the baby. You think about the nursing and snuggling. The wonderful newborn smell and all the amazing things that come along with a baby. From the moment you get a positive on a test that baby exists. She's your daughter or he's your son. So when you hear from the Dr that the baby you are carrying inside has died or when you start to loose the baby it's heartwrenching. The hopes and dreams you carried with you for that child dies and a little part inside of you dies.

It doesn't matter if you already had children or have more children after the loss. There's a hole that's empty and can never be filled by another pregnancy or child. But you feel guilty. "Why am I still sad? I have these beautiful children around me. I should feel happy & blessed." Yet you still feel sad. And you carry that sadness in silence because you don't want other people to know how sad you feel.

Then the day comes... a year, 3 years, 5 years down the road and it's the anniversary of your loss. You STILL feel sad about it on that day. The rest of the year you are fine... it's not constantly in your head. You think of it from time to time, but you don't think of it daily anymore... not even weekly. But the anniversary hits and you remember. You remember all the hopes and dreams that were dashed & you remember all the details of your loss and you feel sadness.

How do you grieve? If you bring it up people who don't understand think you're being over dramatic. If you light a candle people will ask... at least my kids always ask & I hate talking about it and explaining it.

So you grieve in silence. Silent grief...

Tomorrow marks 6 years since I had my first loss. And August 4th marks 6 years since my second loss. I've had Erich & Katie since and they fill my life with so much joy. But on May 6th & August 4th I remember. And grieve in silence.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The One About Spring

Spring has finally arrived in Vermont. Yes, it still might snow, but hopefully it won't.

Saturday & Sunday were absolutely gorgeous. The weather was warm, the sun was shining & we got to spend quite a bit of time outside, soaking in the sunshine.

Today it's raining and it doesn't bother me. Lawns are turning green, leaves are beginning to bud on the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom. This time of year is so full of new life and so refreshing after a long winter. The only issue w/ the raining is all the flooding the lake is dealing with. Hoping it will not flood more.

As much as I hate winter I like living where there are 4 full seasons (5 if you count the in-between Winter and Spring season we like to call Mud Season)

Friday, April 22, 2011

The One About Grace

"There's only grace. There's only love. There's only mercy and believe me it's enough. Our sins are gone w/out a trace. There's nothing left now, there's only grace."

I woke up with this song running through my head this morning. It struck me that this is the season where SO MUCH grace was given to us! So much grace was poured out on behalf of us... each of us. I keep thinking about how Jesus died ...DIED... on the cross for our sins. Imagine you have 5 children. Imagine 4 of them are so naughty they are constantly causing trouble. Imagine you punish *only* the one who isn't naughty for all the naughtiness the others are doing. Seems so unfair and so wrong.... yet, that's what God did. Ultimately he punished Jesus... the only perfect person to walk this earth... because of the things we do wrong every day. And what thanks does He get? Really?

I'm not claiming to be a perfect Christian (Is there such a thing?) I don't read my Bible daily. I pray daily, but often it's "Lord, help me not to kill my kids today!" I know I've missed opportunities to share the gospel. I certainly don't give God the thanks He deserves in my daily life.

But I am thankful. I am thankful for that grace He chose to give to us. I'm thankful that He saw us worth enough of receiving that grace if we just ask for it. I'm thankful that He chose to bless us and give us such a wonderful gift of life if we choose it. I'm thankful for His grace.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The One About Dancing

When was the last time you danced freely? I don't mean weird dancing that looks like you're having a seizure, but fun dancing. Think of a 2 year old. The other day I was watching my 2 y/o daughter in her "pretty" (a dress), dancing to "More Sunday Morning Songs with Bob & Larry". She was spinning, raising her hands in the hair, jumping, laughing, clapping and looking so happy & full of joy! I decided to join her. We laughed and danced... and to be honest, I was exhausted much more quickly than she was!! But it was fun and freeing. It was joyful and exhilarating. And it was a bonding experience with my little one. It picked up the mood of the day and my 7 y/o and 4 y/o also joined in so we formed a circle and circle danced around the living room. Dancing is fun! Next time you're having a bad day... pop in your favorite music and dance around the house w/ your little ones (or by yourself)... I bet it'll brighten the day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The One With 5 Personalities

I have 5 different personalities that I have to work with daily:

  1. The compliant child
  1. The strong willed child
  1. The sneaky child
  1. The analytical child
  2. The silly child

I have one child who is mostly compliant. He's a people pleaser and thrives on praise and encouragement. He tries to do good most of the time, tho he does tend to be bossy towards his siblings from time to time and a little grumbly when things don't go the way he wants them to be.

Next I have what would be dubbed as "the strong willed child". He can definitely hold his own in arguments and absolutely must get the last word in. He cannot stand it when things don't go the way he expects them to go and can have a bit of a rebellious side. But he's also very determined and focused. He knows the rules and tries to follow them better than any of the other children. He zones in on a projects and follows it to completion. He knows when he hasn't done his best and usually tries to perfect it. I guess he's a bit of a perfectionist as well.

Thirdly, I have the sneaky child. She tends to always be afraid of getting in trouble (so I guess a people pleaser as well) It astounds me that she's afraid of this because she rarely 'gets' in trouble and the consequences when she does get in trouble are really minor compared to what some parents would do, but I guess to her it's not minor. She tends to tell tall tales and live in a 'fantasy' type world from time to time. She's fun loving and joyful. Almost always smiling and happy. She can be a bit 'snotty', but I think that's being a 7 year old girl! The amazing thing is her joy. She's just a happy child. And thoughtful. She made her sick brother a card just because she loves him.

Fourth is my analytical child. He thinks about EVERYTHING. He thinks through everything. He asks a bazillion questions. He loves documentaries and learning new things. He also thinks through everything he is asked to do. "Why do I need to clean up the playroom? It'll just get messy again." He tends to be a bit defiant and is actually very similar to my 'strong willed child' in many, many ways. He's a joy to be around and is usually cheerful. The things he thinks about and the subjects he brings up are pretty amazing and really thought provoking (and he's only 4!)

Last, but certainly not least is my silly child. She loves to be the center of attention. She's always laughing and dancing. She moves to music in her head. She's often persistent in her wants, but so much of her personality is just silly. Laughing, making others laugh, being cute and silly. She's two… so it'll be interesting to see what happens as she grows older.

I've found that parenting each one of them takes thought and changes per child and per season of life. There are times when I need to 'crack down' and times I need to extend more grace. There are things I would be strict w/ one about, but not strict w/ another about. Parenting is the most difficult job because of this. To parent each child to your best ability (and to their needs) you can't use a 'one style fits all' technique. Sure, it'd be easier! Yes, I'll admit… if I just used one form of discipline for each infarction of the 'rule' it would make my life easier. It doesn't work well that way. The moments I do use a form of punitive parenting I realize the reason I do not want to use it. My first retreats into himself, my second becomes angry and sullen, my third is heartbroken/sad as well as withdrawn, my fourth becomes angry and lashes out and my fifth is so hurt you can see it in her eyes. While I think that a sadness at doing wrong is right and the only way we can change, I don't think it needs to be enforced or made worse by my punitive parenting methods.

I've found that if I'm parenting at my best, using the grace that God extends to us my kids thrive. (Tho honestly we use grace on a very tiny, minuscule basis than what God has shown to us. None of us has chosen to give up the life of our child to save people who don't even care that we exist.) Through my extension of grace, the children can see heart issues come to light and when it comes from them it hits them harder. An example: My sneaky child has a tendency to lie to prevent getting into trouble . We've been reading a lot of Aesop's fables and she came to me the other day and said 'Huh. I think I needed to hear that. I'm like the boy who cried wolf. I'm going to try not to do that so people will believe me." My mama heart soared! I have told her that very thing time and time again "If you continue to lie, people won't believe you even if you tell the truth." She would agree, but didn't take it to heart until it came to her on her own. A simple verse, a simple story, a simple heart to heart talk can bring things to their minds that they hadn't thought of, hadn't taken to heart or hadn't realized were an issue. I've found that seizing these moments when not in the heat of a negative moment is the best. Seize a quiet moment alone and talk with them about the heart issue they are struggling with. Really listen and don't offer a lot of advice unless they seem open to it. Grab a hold of moments when you can encourage them.

When I'm parenting at my best and we hit the heat of the moment I usually try to walk away and say "You need to cool down" or "I need to cool down" and then address the situation later. I try to teach them it's best to walk away if you feel too heated. How many marriages and relationships could have been saved if only hurtful things hadn't been said in the heat of the moment, you know? But I also try to teach them to come back and talk when things have cooled off because you can't just ignore problems.

I wish I could always parent at my best… it's not easy and some days I want to throw in the towel on parenting completely. Walk away and just let them raise themselves! I guess that would be permissive parenting. But then how will they learn? They won't learn heart issues by beating it out of them. They won't learn by letting them do whatever they want… there has to be a balance and I guess that balance is grace. That balance is found when we pray and follow God's lead on how to parent each child as they need as the individuals God created them to be. Who are we to try to change what God created? Why not just help Him to shape them to become who He created them to be?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The One With Sickness

Try as I may I cannot keep my family healthy since February. The majority of the family came down w/ a stomach bug/flu in Feb and ever since we've been battling colds and now, another stomach bug. So far just the 4 y/o has it.... but what comes in goes around fast. It drives me crazy to get sick. We go three places consistently: Church, Friday School & the Library. We get together w/ friends once or twice/week as well, but we don't go to any other public places. I don't even take the children to the grocery store with me... and yet we still pick things up. It's discouraging to me. It wouldn't be a big deal if I had one or two children, but since I have 5 it seems to take us FOREVER to get over something.

I chalk them full of echinacea and elderberry syrup. They get over things fairly quickly, but then seem to get something else because their immune systems were lowered by the previous flu/cold/stomach bug. I wish there were a sure-fire way to not get anything.

Awww.... Summer, you cannot come soon enough.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The One With A Hundred Dollar Giveaway

One of my friends has a blog and is giving away $100 visa gift card. Feel free to stop by and enter!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The One With Gifts

So my husband is incredibly thoughtful! I cannot believe how much thought he put into this gift. He gave me a few bags w/ gifts numbered 1-11. The first gift was a card. Inside it said he was giving me traditional gifts... one for each year.

1. Paper ~ The card.
2. Cotton ~ A beautiful 100% cotton scarf
3. Leather ~ A leather journal
4. Flowers ~ 1 long stem rose
5. Wood ~ A wooden garden tool
6. Candy ~ Godiva Dark Chocolate Truffles. *YUM*
7. Copper ~ A bud vase he made out of copper. Very nice. :)
8. Pottery ~ A planter
9. Willow ~ A willow tree memory box w/ the 'embrace' figurines etched in the front
10. Tin ~ A tin candle holder
11. Steel ~ One of his figurines made specially for me w/ "Nuts About You" written on it.

I'm going to have to take pictures & share later. I have to say I am extremely touched by his thoughtfulness. He put a lot of time into this. <3

The One Where We Got Married

11 years ago we married. 11 years of wedded bliss... well, not all blissful, but 99.9% of it has been. We've both made mistakes and have hurt each other, but in the end we're still as in love, if not more, than we were 11 years ago when we said "I do" We've been through a lot: 7 moves, 3 house purchases and 2 house sales, 5 pregnancy/births, 2 losses, job loss & financial hardships. I wouldn't change it tho... There's no one else in this world I'd rather have by my side as I go through life.

I am so very blessed with this man and am forever grateful that God brought him into my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The One About Loneliness

Being alone.

I've never been good at being alone. Don't get me wrong... I'm definitely an introvert and love the quiet, but I cannot stand the feeling of loneliness. Not having friends, not having a significant other, not having family.... those things just eat away at me. Obviously, now, I'm near my family and I have a wonderful significant other. I also have some wonderful friends. But still I often feel lonely.

I was talking with a friend and she said that we are always alone and if you think about it deeply, she is correct. Relationships give us an illusion of not being alone, but when it comes right down to it... we ARE alone. We, our innermost beings, are alone in our thoughts, in our choices, in the things we say and do. We are alone.

But we weren't created to be alone. We were created to have relationship with God. And for those of us who are saved and are walking with the Lord, we're never truly alone with our thoughts, in our choices and in the things we say and do. There is always One there with us, reading our thoughts as we think them. Helping us make choices in life. Guiding us (if we let Him) in the things we say and do. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is the first verse that comes to mind when I think on this subject. It's comforting to know that even in our loneliest of moments, God is there, holding us and listening to us, even when it feels the prayers are hitting the ceiling and falling back down with a thud.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The One About Responsibility

"Kiddos have feelings.. kiddos have feelings too." This keeps running through my head (sung to "Critters Have Feelings" from Hoodwinked. )

I sometimes see my children as extensions of myself. After all, I'm the one who grew them in my uterus, nourished them at my breast and then continue day after day to care for them. It does often seem like they are mini-me's or "my" creation that I'm molding to become who they are.

It's not the case, tho... they are their own little people w/ their own thoughts, feelings, individuality. They were given these things by God and He entrusted Matt & I to care for and nourish them in every way. He entrusted us to raise them up to be the best they can be. He entrusted us to raise them up in His Word.

This task seems overwhelming when I really think about it. Why did He think I could do this? It's a HUGE responsibility! I'm sure I fail day after day... but He helps me do the best I can.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The One About Toddlers...

The more children you have the less you sweat the small stuff. I realized this the other day after KT threw a MASSIVE tantrum in which I merely picked her up, placed her on the bottom step and said "Sit there until you are done." She screamed a minute longer, got up, said "All done." and went on w/ her day as if minutes before she wasn't screaming over not being allowed to play w/ the markers.

With my first child I would have been mortified had he thrown a fit like that. I would have spanked his tiny little bottom and would have felt that he was headed for a life of fighting and manipulating to get his way. I've learned A LOT since then. Toddlers just feel everything with every part of their being. They feel BIG feelings. They don't need the feelings beaten out of them w/ a spanking. Time outs aren't even necessary if you can get them to calm down w/ a simple hug and comfort. (which is not the case for most of my toddlers... they need some space to cool down) They just need to learn how to calm themselves down a bit and use those feelings in a good way. That comes w/ maturity and time... as I've discovered with all of my children who have matured passed toddler-hood.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The One About Marriage

"Marrwage... marrwage is what bwings us togetha todaayyy.. Marrwage... that bwessed union. "

Ok, so anyone who has not see "Princess Bride" doesn't get that at all, but the rest of us are conjuring up images of a medieval wedding in which the bride is being forced to marry someone she doesn't love and the priest is a goofball...

But in all seriousness, marriage has been on my mind a lot lately. One one side I know someone who is in love for the first time. You remember that fun, giddy, exciting love? And on the other side I know a couple of people going through divorces and separations and that is heart wrenching and sad.

So I've had marriage on my mind A LOT lately. I've chatted with Matt a lot about it, wondering what makes some marriages work and others not. My first notion, as a Christian, was to think Christ was what made a marriage work. But then I look around and see the divorce rate for Christians to be as high as the divorce rate for non-Christians.

I think the scary thing about marriage (or any relationship for that matter) is that you cannot know what the other person is thinking. You cannot get in their minds and know for sure that they will be 100% committed to you forever. In fact, they may not even know it themselves. They may feel that they are, but life happens. Things change, feelings change, people change... and in those changes minds change and people grow apart.

I'm not writing any of this because Matt & I are going through a rough patch. Just the opposite, to be honest. We are crazy in love still, but I'm trying to figure out what makes us work? Why are we crazy in love after 11 years of marriage when so many marriages barely make it to the 7 year mark? The only things I can think of are:

1. Mutual Respect
2. Commitment to this marriage
3. A desire to grow and nurture our marriage
4. Communication
5. Love

#1 and #3 are two I want to chat about a bit.
Mutual respect... I'm part of an online board that is very adamant against Women Only Submission in marriage. I get that... and I agree to a certain extent. I agree that there needs to be mutual submission, but I have a twist on that. Mutual submission is good... and Biblically mandated (and I can show you verses to prove it if you ask), but I believe that in the end the husband is the head. Over the years there have been a few times where Matt & I couldn't make a huge decision by meeting in the middle. In those times I've agreed to trust him in his decision and honestly, it has always worked out for the best. But he never makes a big decision w/out consulting me and taking my opinion into account and typically we come to a conclusion together... thus mutual respect/submission to each other.

#3 ... You don't plant a seed and hope it grows & survives w/out nurturing it. You don't have a baby and hope it grows & survives w/out nurturing it... so how would you expect a marriage to grow and survive w/out nurturing it? Matt & I have set aside one day/month where we have a 'date night' at home. This entails putting the kids to bed early, cooking a meal together & playing games or watching a fun movie. We actually try to do this more than once/ month but we have one specific day set aside so we know we'll definitely do it at least once. We also try to get away alone for a weekend once/year. That's not always easy w/ little ones, but it usually happens. I'd love to see us have a real date once/month too, but haven't been able to make that work yet. It's good to continue to see yourselves as a couple and not just "mom & dad" or lost in your jobs.

Actually ~ I want to address communication too. I think this is the absolute key. I think it makes or breaks any relationship/marriage/friendship. For us this means discussing everything that needs to be put out there before it becomes a big issue. Rather than letting this fester and build up inside, it's best to get it out before it's too late. But, on the flip side, there is a time to hold back as well. I often think about a problem for a day. I decide if it's worth rocking the boat about or is it better to change my attitude about it and move on w/out making it an issue. I've done both... at times I feel it's a big enough issue that we need to talk it out and work on it. Other times I feel I can just 'get over it' and move on. If it comes up again, I reevaluate and decide all over again. And that works for us.

All in all ~ it really takes two. He has to be as open and honest in the relationship and you are and you can't guarantee that. This fact was reallllly eating away at me recently. I went to a women's retreat at my church. It was just a day retreat, but it was good. In a quiet moment of prayer I asked God to help me trust my husband. And I heard God say "You don't have to trust Him, just trust Me." Hmm... I found it comforting and so whenever I start to worry about whether my husband will change his mind about us one day I throw that into a prayer to the Lord and give it to Him. I cannot control my husband's mind. I can't even know what's going on in the deep places of his mind. I cannot know if we'll be together for 50+ years. What I can know is that , at this moment in time, we are in love. At this moment in time we are committed to 50+ years. The one thing that won't ever change is God and I know that no matter what happens, He will be there.

Friday, January 21, 2011


This subject causes homeschooling families to roll their eyes. How many times have you heard, as a homeschooler, "What about socialization?" It seems to be a legitimate concern of public schoolers and pediatricians.

I wonder how much socialization happens in the public school anyway? Some, of course, but it's all based around classes and break times. If you truly want to get to know someone or 'socialize' with them you still need to set up play dates or sleepovers or get togethers even if they are "socializing" all day at school.

I attend a monthly "Tumble Time" with my youngest 3. It's for children ages birth to 6 years and older siblings can come as well if they want to. I was sitting there watching the children at Tumble Time the other day and I noticed that all of the kids gravitated towards their own siblings. Even children who had friends at the playgroup would chat w/ their friends for a moment, but really played with their own siblings the most. I realized that as far as socialization goes, it seems that you get a lot of it in your own home if you have more than 1 child. My kids are each other's best friends and worst enemies depending on the day. They learn to play together and the proper way to behave with someone else with each other. They learn the proper way to have a disagreement with each other. Of course it's good to have them learn to be comfortable with people not in the family & it's easy to do that if you search out opportunities with homeschool coops and church or scouts or sports... the list could go on. But, essentially, their most important socialization happens within their own home. They learn how to chat w/ adults and relate to people with different thoughts and ideas in the safe setting of their own home. It think it's awesome!! And, to be honest, the homeschooled teens I know tend to be much more comfortable talking with adults than public schooled teens I know. They also tend to not have as much of a negative attitude towards younger children. In our homeschool group the older teens/kids help out the younger children a lot. It's nice to see.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The One About the "Me, Me, Me Syndome"

Everywhere you turn these days there is someone telling you to think about yourself. From loosing weight to adventure trips some advertisement will say "Do this for YOU" or tell you to "stop thinking about other people and do 'x' for yourself."

Don't get me, wrong... I think it's essential to take time for yourself. I think it's essential to want to loose weight or learn or new hobby or branch out into a new adventure for yourself. But I think there's so much emphasis on doing what YOU want to do that we begin to focus internally a bit too much.

My issue with this is that you will find no where in the Bible where God says 'look at yourself first.' He always focuses on "Love God. Love Others. and THEN... Love yourself." Not love yourself first. So on my drive home from visiting a friend this evening I really got to thinking about this subject. I realized that the times in my life where I've first focused on God and secondly on others, *I* began to feel more fulfilled without even having to focus on myself.

I correct myself.. there is one instance where God does tell us to focus on ourselves... He tells us not to point out the sins of others until we are sinless. ;)