Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Judge if you must, but for us this is life!

I have been thinking about this post for sometime.  I have wanted to hide it, because it isn't 'normal'... whatever normal may be. Also because, unfortunately, I know this information will come with judgments being made at my husband and I.  I used to judge, and God greatly humbled me by putting real life situations in my life that made it messy.  I used to say, "Oh, my kids will never act like that!" Or, "I will do this and that, etc."  I don't say that anymore, because my kids DO act just like that!  And I do things I said I never would.  Real life.  Real shoes.  So before we stand from afar and judge, lets get down in the mess and really walk alongside someone who needs support before we stand back and only offer judgmental glances or make phone calls to others speaking judgements that we have no business saying. 

Homeschooling became more real to us when my oldest son really struggled in school.  There was a long list if things that needed to be done at home after his long school day.  Then there was the fear of my second son being labeled.  The fear of him moving into the next grade and not being able to handle it.  Little did I know then, that it would be us seeking out the 'label'.  I hope this transparency brings to light my/our struggles with homeschooling.  I am choosing to write about this rather than hide it, because there maybe another Momma out there who feels absolutely hopeless and feels like a total failure in this dance we call mothering.  You are not a failure! 

Our son, T-man, is the most caring full of life child we have ever had the privilege of meeting.  The cool part? He is ours!  He has faced trials in his short 7 years.  He knows the process for being admitted to the hospital far better than most 7 year olds.  He has had 4 hospital stays, surgery, and a medical procedure we are blocking from our memory.  He also is a struggling learner, much like his Momma.  He is also impulsive.  He also loves passionately.  He also protects his siblings with every ounce of who he is.  He is awesome.  He is very much a doer, often before he thinks things through.  He believes he can conquer the world and isn't afraid to try.  He is strong and often doesn't realize his own strength. He is so sweet and is often moved by the journal that we write back and forth. 

Last year, we had a hard year.  I haven't hid my struggles with homeschooling.  He struggled with his school work, yes....even being homeschooled!  My husband and I laid in bed awake many late nights talking about what to do next or how could handle situations differently.  The weight of T succeeding weighed heavily on my shoulders, I wanted him to experience success free of frustration and struggle.  He hated school work and we faced each day being nervous that he would hit a brick wall that would send our day spiraling downward. 

We still struggle but there is more hope in our days.  We sought help, because I couldn't stand the thought of him falling further behind.  Because I didn't want days to be surrounded with fear.  I wanted joy to re-enter our home.  So yes, something that is claimed to be fictitious if very real in our family.  ADHD.  Say what you will, judge if you must... but for us, there is nothing fake about it. 

I used to be the judge of the Momma with a tantruming toddler in the store.  I used to be the judge of parenting when a child would act out at the playground.  I used to judge judge judge...  Oh Lord, forgive me!!! Now, I have experienced judgmental glares and the whispers when I just wanted to melt on the floor in a pile of tears along with my child. I have wanted to run up to a mom in the store who was on the brink of tears herself while wrangling a child who clearly did not get the same memo on the plan and wrap my arms around her.  God has taught me much, and I pray that I learn the lesson the first time and this lesson of passing judgements doesn't need to be continually taught to this hard to teach girl.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spilling the Beans!

I took all children with me to the baby's doctors appointment.  This is not the first time, and I usually do well (or um, we all usually do well!) when we are there.  We love our pediatrician and his office.  My kids cheer when I make appointments. 

So going to the doctors isn't meant with resistance.  And my kiddos are very outgoing.  So there are many people to talk to on our travels.  They get this from their dad.  Not me.  I'd be content to sit in the corner of the waiting room, nose in a book, speaking to no one.  No, not the kids.  The float around the room speaking to anyone who makes eye contact.  Spilling the beans.  You know, the beans that you have tucked away.  The ones that you'd prefer that they not share with random strangers in the doctors office.  So I sit in my corner watching as they select their unsuspecting subject.  They scan the room looking, waiting for the first eye contact and when it is made... they pounce.  And I sit back in fear waiting. 

You know, those weird unsocialized homeschool kids?  Where are they? 

I am so thankful that they are outgoing and not afraid to walk right up to someone and say Hi!  When we would go and sing at the nursing home they had little fear of the residents in wheel chairs and would walk right up and talk to them.  It was great.  It is my prayer that their boldness will continue and that they will remain fearless as they show love to others.  As they show compassion to those people around us and shower on them the love of Christ. 

It was a crazy appointment since the office has moved and the whole process is different.  I try to embrace change, but I'll admit that I just wanted to burst into tears yesterday as I missed the good ol' days in the old office where I felt less like a number.  I was so thankful when our pediatrician walked in and in that aspect, nothing had changed at all.  Who would've thought that taking 4 kids alone to the doctors would be so draining and yet leave feeling refreshed?  Yea, I don't get it either.  But it happens every time.  Even when lining all the kiddos up for flu shots, keeping a wild toddler in a little room or begging the toddler to stand on the scale when he clear was missing the days of ol' also. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I Eat a Bowl of Ice Cream...

Guilt free... with my family.

I cringe when I hear the word "diet"  or even a diet masked as a "life style".  I haven't been quiet about my struggle with needing to be super skinny.  But since the birth of my daughter, I have tried very very hard to NOT let my discontentment with my body be known to my kiddos.  It is a struggle that I have been working through with those people close to me to keep me focused on God.  On this journey to being content with ME and with my body.

So when I see Mommas struggling with their bodies with their children, especially little girls, in tow... I get that knot in my belly.  The knot of deep sympathy, maybe sorrow?  As daughters stand back and watch us hate our bodies, the ones that they see as beautiful because of that squishy belly?  The one that looks like a road map that has undergone a massive amount of construction? Yea, that belly...well it made you a Mom.  A Mom that they admire!  And when I complain about my hips because having children changed my body forever... I look at the sweet little face next to me and I see the hurt... because Yes! I am forever changed!  And I don't want to be a sense of pain, for any of us.  But something that we REJOICE about.

So I decided that I would change.  I decided that I would sit down and eat a bowl of ice cream with my kids and that I wouldn't pass on the dessert.  While I don't want to feast on sweets, but rather teach my children the importance of moderation.  The importance of making healthy choices.  And the importance of enjoying a little (maybe, little...maybe...bigger...) brownie.

How can I teach them this if I am buying my own food? If I am the only one eating a different way?  How is this a life style change if it is only me, and if the underlying message that my children are seeing is discontentment  The last year I have been praying that God would push me, heals dug in and all, on this journey of contentment.  To appreciate this body that He gave me.  The one that can get out of bed and walk every day.  The body that can chase my crazy toddler and hold my baby girl (not such a baby anymore...).  The body that can crochet while I listen to my boys read to me.  This body.  The one that birthed 4 babies into our family.  The one that used to run.  The one that loves to lift some weights.  Yea, that body.

Remember how I promised myself that I wouldn't step one foot on the scale once I started working out again?  Well, I kept my promise.  And when I sliced my finger open and needed to get stitches, that was the first time that I stepped on that machine that gives me a number that I USED to base my self worth on.  So I got on the scale, and while the number wasn't one that I was totally ecstatic over, it was one that I could turn away and smile from.  Why?  Because I was content with me.  Because I hadn't deprived myself from dessert with my family.  Because I enjoyed eating food without making myself feel guilty.

I left the doctor's office and sent a text messages to a woman who has come alongside me and really been a mentor to me through all this crazy stuff and told her of my triumph!  It may not seem much to you, but to me in my brain...it was huge.  Somewhere along the way I lost my focus on Christ.  I had such a strong desire to fit into a certain group that I lost my focus of being content with who God made me.  And I want that girl back.  The girl that my Momma raised me to be!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Focus through the Mess

I have a few serious blogs rolling around in the queue... but I am hesitant to post them.  Perhaps insecurities?  I don't know...

This colder weather has me wanting to snuggle longer in my bed in the morning.  I have absolutely NO desire to get up and work out.  I'd rather sit here and whine whine whine about the cold and dream about my nice toned body.  I do carry an almost 30 pound toddler around a lot.  Can that count as a work out? 

So this weather has me just feeling down and blah as we are all contained in the house.  Thankfully the last two days have been ok outside so we have escaped being contained by these 4 walls.  I miss warm days when I could sit out and crochet without my fingers feeling like they would fall off.  I am concerned I missed our chance to take some decent out door pictures of the kiddos.  I haven't taken new photos in a year and I am still very much swooning over the ones that presently grace our mantle.  So really, I am in no rush... but I would like some updated ones. 

We have had some great homeschooling days.  The kids are just rocking out some amazing work and I am just so thankful that I can be along for the ride!  I experienced such excitement with Hannah as she read her first words.  Watching Isaiah's brain light up in wonder at how 'magical' math is!  And I watched Turner work through so much to be able to sit down and focus and put out some wonderful things.  I watched Nathan sit quietly and dump shells from one bowl to another.  The days are hard, sometimes I just feel down right crazy.  But when I sit down and really look back on all that we have conquered together, those hard days seem to get lost in the cracks of joy and success! 

It's hard.  There is as much growth going on in our hearts as our kiddos.  Sometimes we just need to stop the madness (because my house feels like absolute madness at times, please tell me I am NOT alone!) and sit back and count the blessings.  To keep our focus on Christ and not get lost in the mess that surrounds us. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

More the Student than the Teacher

I am always amazed at how much my children teach me.  I had always assumed that in this dance of parenting, I would be the one doing the instructing.  The more I dance, the more I discover the lessons are often being taught the other way around.  My only prayer is that I am not messing these precious babies up, too much.

A month ago our oldest had an appendicitis.  It was scary and it was his first hospital stay, which was strange for him as he is usually very healthy.  I sat back many many times and marveled at his unwavering faith in the Mighty God.  Dramatic? Possibly, but the whole experience moved me to a deeper love for Jesus.  He experienced pain and even though he questioned "Why me?" is focus on Christ never wavered.  He held his gaze steadfast on him.  I want to be just like him when I grow up.

When we were home and I was helping him get back to the sofa after his shower, he stopped while he was still hunched over knowing that his next jolt on to the sofa was certainly going to be painful.  He stopped and looked right in my eyes.  I could see his eyes brimming with tears wanting the pain from abdominal surgery to subside, sooner rather than later.  He spoke words that I think of every day.  He said, "Mom, I just need to have faith.  I need to trust that God will heal me from this."

And my heart burdened with his pain experienced such a range of emotions in that moment that I am not sure how to describe it.  How often to take my focus off Christ when the going gets tough?  The pain (emotional and/or physical) is too much to bear?  How often do I try to do it my way?  Without crying out to the Lord?  My 8 year old taught me so much about focus that night.  He taught me about faith and trust.

Last week I sliced my finger while cutting bagels for lunch.  It hurt.  And in the moment of the pain and hopping around the kitchen, I slid down the cabinets until I set on the floor.  Holding my throbbing finger and I cried out to God.  Not because it was my first reaction, but because it was his first reaction.  And you know what?  I handled the pain, got my finger to stop bleeding, and was able to continue on with the day (until Sam got home and we ventured out to get stitches!)

How often do I lose my focus during the day?  Even during the small little menial tasks?  How often do I look around rather than up when I feel like my life is spinning, heading for out of control, and I just want to get  grip?

Yes, Momma's we do have a huge responsibility teaching these precious babies.  But do not forget, that we can still be the student.  I praise God that He uses my children to teach me.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homeschooling and Friends, for Mom!

I've had my fair of homeschooling comments that have made me step back.  I am becoming increasingly more aware how our choice to home school our children has changed relationships, both for our children and for us. I have felt the strain on friendships that have left my heart hurt.  It's no ones fault, it is just life.

And I miss those relationships.  I tried to keep both lives in a happy medium. You know, the homeschool mom mixed with the one that hangs out with friends.  Sigh.  It didn't work.  I'm afraid I'm viewed as weird because I make a choice to spend all day every day with my kids.  And it appears because of this choice,  I have some awesome super power complete an abundance of patience.  Do not be afraid, because I lack patience.  All the time.  Every day.  It is hard.  Homeschooling is hard.  Lack of friendships is hard.  Patience is hard to come by.  Spending every day correcting behaviors that come from our natural sinful behavior is hard.

I long for fun lunch breaks with friends.  Where I can sit and just chat about life without worrying about multiplication with carrying or drilling spelling words...or worse, chasing down that climbing toddler for the 849 time.

So, I am sorry, Friend.  For our lacking friendship.  For that akwardness that comes when I can't do things during the day because at that moment I am a teacher.  For that weirdness that comes just because I don't put my kids on a bus.

I feel the weight heavy on my shoulders of my children's education.  This gives me different struggles and I try to find a new way to teach an area where my child is struggling.  I don't need to hear, "Are you ready to put them in school yet?"  Or, "Maybe it is time that they go to school?"  I need support to keep going.  I know this journey is hard, but I know that God has called our family to this journey so when I receive comments that are so not supportive of our choice then I back away.  Because rather than telling me to send my kids off, I may just need a hug or some words of encouragement.

I have learned much about friendships in recent months.  It both saddens me and yet I am extremely grateful for friends that stand by me. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A New Year; A Fresh Outlook

I have totally transformed my thinking about homeschooling this year.  And can I tell you, that I have had such a peace about it!!

Last year I focused so much on academics. Actually, I focused all on academics.  I felt like I missed it.  I missed their hearts, I missed focusing them on the Jesus as Lord of their lives.  And wow, did the year show that!

Granted, the last few school days have been a little hairy.  Things have been a little wild, but really are there not times in the normal school schedule that aren't a little hairy at times?  Before Sammy left for work he noticed that he had bus drills today (have I mentioned that my husband teaches in the public school AND we home school, gasp!!).  So it is not like us homeschooling Moms are the only ones who experience periods of wildness in our day.   So the last few days have been just that for us.   I have one child who can just fly through anything and another one who struggles when anything is out of the ordinary.  I try so hard to keep everything in control, but alas... as you know...we homeschooling mom's are in control of very little!  (Praise God!!)

Ok, to our school year thus far.  It has been great.  Of course, as every momma would, I worry about my precious kiddos being on target with everything.  I know they lag behind what the dumb Common Core Standards imply where they should be.  But that is ok.  Right?  Tell me that is ok.  I am focusing on so much more through out our day than just the blasted standards.  Have I mentioned that I have to work hard to keep the baby from sabotaging our schooling efforts? 

Our days have gone awesome.  Maybe it is just the first of the year and I feel totally refreshed without my husband spending hours at school or grading or doing whatever school teachers do (you know after having their whole summer off.  Oh how many times have I heard this and cringed mid January when I want to cry because we never see our beloved fearless leader of our home!)  More so than memorizing multiplication facts and all sorts of math facts, my children are filling their precious minds with the lovely truths that come from above...Scripture!  Yes yes, no worries...we are memorizing those math facts....they are agonizing.  But I love hearing my kiddos spew off Stricture!

At the end of last year, I really thought homeschooling wasn't for us.  (I have a post being written for you about it later...)  I KNEW it was what God called our family to do but I just don't love it.  I'm sorry, I don't.  And God had called me out on this too, no worries.  I know I need to home school joyfully...but it is hard! I know I need to bring honor and glory to the Lord in ALL I do, and this means homeschooling.  I have been working very hard to transform my thinking this year to home school with a joyful heart and to do it in a way that would honor the Lord.  I truly believe that this is why our days have been going much better.  I am so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A little fitness/weight update!

I thought I'd give it a little update on how things are going since I posted about being a skinny girl with weight struggles back in March.  I promised myself that if I worked out that I would not weigh myself.  I ran a bunch in the spring but then I had terrible pain in my feet.  I really struggled running.  I have never loved it, but I just did it because I like the alone time.  Especially in the morning when I could catch the sunrise and really have 'quiet' time with the Lord before we hit the day head on. 

So I haven't stepped on the scale since then.  I have no idea what I weigh.  I know I feel good.  I know my clothes still fit me well.

Oh, how I have wanted to step on the scale.  Just to see how I am doing, but I will not find my happiness in a number.  I will not find my self worth in a number.  

I am making changes to our families diet so I am doing a lot more label reading at the grocery store.  I am so saddened by the amount of junk in our foods. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Looking Forward... A Year Ahead!

I am very excited about the changes we have made in our homeschooling days!  Yes, I am eager for the year to start.  We start on Monday!  Can you believe the summer is almost over??  It has been such a crazy one for us.  I will welcome routine back and at the same time mourn the end of our carefree days with Daddy home everyday. 

I have been waking up early every morning for the last two weeks preparing for early morning days that are coming!  I have committed to working out before the start of each day.  Some mornings my lovely bunch awakens in the middle of the my work out and I have an audience...which is awkward and I don't enjoy it but I don't let it stop me.  I toss them a few 1lb dumbbells and tell them to get to work too!  Yes, I am that mother!  After my work out I brew an awesome cup of French Vanilla coffee in my Keurig while I turn on PBS for the "baby", who really isn't much of a baby anymore.  Then I sit down for "Quiet Time" which is difficult.  I have a hard time stopping my mind from running everywhere.  I find that I am super focused after a work out so this year I am going to give myself an extra 30 minutes in the morning post work out to spend with the Lord.  I have been reading in Haggai and Zachariah.  So encouraging.  I am just loving how God's character is revealed in the Old Testament.  His unconditional love that He continues to pour out on His people.  I hope to keep this going, even in the winter when it is still pitch black at 7am and I should've been up at least 90 minutes ago!

We are keeping all of our curriculum choices the same.  I know, I know.... I said someone punch if me if I choose to do this.  Well I did! BUT let me finish! I have a good reason.  We decided to enroll the older three in Friday School designed especially for home schoolers.  This will bring us to a 4 day per week home school day in our home, then the kiddos will go to their school for Art, PE, and Music.  We are very excited to add this! 

Last year I ran our day like a crazy woman shoving academics endlessly down the throats of my poor children.  They were sad.  I was sad, and crazy... very crazy.  About 1/2 through the year I gave up on family devotions all together.  I know, crazy. Sad.  I started the day focused on getting through the three R's.  The only mention of God was in our Christian curriculum.  Again, sad.  It is only by God's grace that my kids are ok.  So this year? My #1 goal?  Keep my kids (ahem, and MYSELF) focused on HIM.  Start each day focused on HIM.  Help my kids to fall more in love with Jesus, especially my boys who have both made professions of faith.  I don't know how my focus got so off last year, but I am not going to let it get so off this year! 

So our goals for this year are simple!  Focus on God!  Really, that is all. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

A New Creation in Christ

Last night, Sam came down stairs and leaned against the wall by our computer desk.  He has that happy smirk, the one that makes your heart sigh happiness.  He said that our T-man had asked help praying to God, to ask Him to live in his heart. 

Makes your heart happy, right?  Even if he isn't your child?  I can't help but smile as I relive the moment and seeing Sam's face of contentment.  It is our deepest prayer that all of our children would KNOW Him!  T-man loves life, he breathes deep and runs hard.  He has a heart that humbles mine.  I often joke with people that he is the reason why my marriage is rock solid because he makes Sam and I talk parenting all the time.  We talk about ways to fill his love tank and ways to better discipline him and often pray for him.  We have sat next to his hospital bed with tears watching him struggle to breath.  We have prayed until we were so exhausted that we cried.  I have pleaded with God to draw close to him at a young age, because well, T loves life.  I know that if we can channel all his passion for the Lord he will do mighty things for the Kingdom!  Last night was just the start, and I still feel like I am cloud 9!

He has been asking me to go on a date, just him and I, for a few weeks now.  Today for lunch we snuck away from the family and left them to fend for themselves.  I sat and listened to what he loves and his hopes and dreams.  Then I asked him about last night and he shared with me the wonderful details.  It was super sweet and told me why Jesus had to die for him.  I know our time at WOL campground help to prepare him.  I am so grateful!

Sweet Sweet contentment for this Momma's heart! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 in Review

Previously I had written a review of our year.  It wasn't pretty.  If you have followed, you know it was a challenging year!  SO, you won't be reading that post.  Instead I decided to focus on some positives.  And then come up with a few goals for next year.  I have almost all of our curriculum for next year, and have received the packet from the school district.  Next I will write up my IHIP and we will start in August!

I learned this year about truly individualized my kids schooling.  My big boys are as different as night/day and cold/hot.  Yet they are extremely competitive.  It has been a challenge to encourage my boys to embrace the strengths even if they are different than their siblings.  We have worked on memorizing Psalm 139:13-17 to understand that God made each one of us special, and in His own image. 

My big lesson, never judge someone else situation until you spend a time in their shoes.  I had always said, "I will never do this. My kids will never do that."  It all goes out the window when you spend some time in that struggle.  I have learned to show grace rather than judge.  I have learned that sometimes you need to scream for help. 

This year I focused way to much on academics and very little on the hearts of my children.  I was driven for them to learn much so that I could proudly show off their knowledge to squish the doubt of naysayers.  Sadly, I didn't focus much at all on my children's journey with Jesus.  This year I will spend more time helping, especially my big boys, them fall more in love with Jesus.  To learn about the character of our Almighty God.  It will be what we focus on first before academics.  It pains me to admit this but we didn't start every day with prayer.  This year, I want to start everyday with prayer! Focused prayer time. 

This upcoming year we will be using A Beka for math/phonics, AIG God's Design for science, Story of the World Vol. 2 for history, and we will be enrolling the older three kids in Friday school.  There they will participate in their respective classes for art/music/PE. 

We spent the last week camping at a wonderful christian campground.  I prayed that God would get me excited for the upcoming school year, and He did just that!  While I am apprehensive still, I can't wait to get started in August!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

He says I am beautiful, and I believe him!

I always joke with Sam that we will write a book someday.  A book about marriage.  No, we aren't perfect but we have both enjoyed so much the journey.  Last night while making supper he said, "When we write our book we are going to have a chapter called, 'Believing He Thinks You Are Beautiful."  I immediately thought back to a conversation that we had a few weeks ago about how a woman we know has such confidence in her looks.

Sam's reply when I made the comment was, "Her husband tells her every day that she is beautiful.  And she believes it."


It is known that in recent years I have struggled with my appearance.  Never thin enough, never tone enough, and sadly, never happy enough.  God has really been calling me to a place of being content with the here and now, with all that He has provided.  One such area has been my self body image.  I have felt especially convicted of this watching my children grow and develop and not wanting to pass my insecurities on to them.  What if all they remember is me not being happy with my weight? What if all they remember is my constant talk about the number on the scale? Or how much I don't like this part of my body?  It can and will consume our lives if we let it, it is a choice to not.
My husband is head over heals in love with me, I can honestly say that.  He would move mountains for me.  He tells me every single day how hot I am.  He comments on my clothing and how nice I look in it.  I had pulled out some short sleeve shirts in the nice weather last week and I asked Sam how my arms looked, I was worried that the sleeves were too tight and it made my arms look bad.  He looked at me and said, "Seriously?  You are beautiful."  Then he sweetly reminded me I shouldn't be worried about that.

How many times are we told how beautiful we are by our husband and we choose to ignore it?  Sam commented last night how much better my mood (yes, commenting in dangerous territory!) was now that I believe how beautiful he knows I am.  It has totally changed how I look at myself, and it has really changed how we interact with each other.  I have been working hard on letting Sam's compliments settle in my thick brain and really live like I know that he believes I am beautiful.  Guess what?  He noticed.  And he was giddy about it, as giddy as Sam gets.

So this got me thinking about how quickly I am to turn away God's compliments that He pours on me.  How many times does God lavish love on us and we choose to dismiss it?? Choose to ignore it because we feel like we don't deserve it?  We feel like we aren't good enough. 

Ladies, it is time we claim it.  It is time I stop dismissing my husband and really believe that he think I am absolutely beautiful.  And live confidently behind it!

It is time that we stop pushing away the Heavenly Father's love for us. 
Sit back, and let Him lavish is love on us.  Because when we are able to recieve love from the Heavenly Father, we can then turn around and pour that love right back out on everyone around us.

I am not sure why, but this song has been ringing through my mind this week.  Maybe it will bless you also. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

In all I do, I honor You.

We sang "Amazing Love" this week at Church.  I was struck and felt extremely convicted singing the last two lines of the chorus,

It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.

1 Corinthians 10:31 has been my 'life verse'.  I try and keep this verse in focus when I begin to feel frazzled (which is, unfortunately, all to often!!).  I want to honor God in all I do!  It is truly my hearts desire.  However, I do fail at it often.

1 Corinthians 10:31
 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So, Sunday...  We had a pretty rough homeschooling week.  Lots of tears, lots of "Lord, HELP ME!", lots of hugs, and maybe a little yelling.  Lots of brokenness covered with lots of grace and forgiveness.  I was feeling particularly stinky after our week, if you remember my raw honest post on home schooling last week.   God laid it on my heart that I had not been honoring Him in my raw emotional post on homeschooling.  I am choosing to keep it up rather than deleting, because it is real.  It is how I was feeling, and I have to believe that I am NOT the only Momma out there that has ever felt this way homeschooling their precious babies.  

Is homeschooling hard?  You betcha!  Can I still honor God in the midst?  Absolutely.  Will it be hard?  Yes.  I am a firm believer that you have to be pushed out of your comfort zone to truly rely on the Lord for your strength.  And for the last 6 months I have been desperately trying to do it myself.  I have failed miserably.  Parenting is tough enough and then when you add education into the mix, it reaches a whole new level.  

Humbly, I apologize for not honoring the Lord.  I am blessed to be able to have the option of homeschooling and for that I praise God.    I am also so thankful that we serve a Living God who is always working in our hearts to mold it to become more like Him!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Do you like it? Homeschooling?

I was asked recently if I liked homeschooling.

My reply?  I hate it.

There it is, all out there in the honest truth.  I hate the constant correction.  I always feel like I am yelling... "Finish that page!" "Hey! Why are you up from the table again?" "How many times have I asked you to finish that assignment???"

I want blissfully happiness in all our days.  I want my kiddos to show up to school willing and ready to work hard.  I read these blogs of totally blissful homeschooling momma's in their perfect well maintained/furnished houses with their children perfectly dressed and work so hard that their work is completed by lunch.  Bliss.  Right??? 

This week was going really well and then went down hill.  I am not sure what happened, and it wasn't the kiddos.  It was me.  I felt my feet slip into this sinking hole of despair, the kind that drives you to bed and steals every ounce of energy so getting out again isn't an option.  The same day, our school books for next year were delivered and I looked at the with tears in my eyes.  I just couldn't imagine doing this again.  It has been an exhausting, emotional year of homeschooling. 

Even though homeschooling is utterly exhausting for me, I do believe that this is what God has called us to do for our family.  This year has been a whole lot of lessons from the Lord for me.  I know I will look back and say, "Wow, I am so thankful for that year of correction."  But right now?  It hurts like...a lot.

There is joy in obedience.  And it is my prayer that all the hard work now will pay off in the long run!  I really do love being their cheerleader!

Monday, April 29, 2013

I want them to know...

Spring is in full swing.

Spring is so full of possibilities.  School is winding down.  Baseball is filling our evenings. The dead of winter is quickly turning into luscious greens and the sun is now giving off that beautiful warm hue.

I was tucking our little baby into bed tonight.  Well, he isn't so little anymore.  But he is my baby, and my baby he will be.  We have been working on getting him to sleep in a big boy bed in his own bedroom.  A tough transition for all of us.  I sit by his bed and read with him while reassuring him that he is ok and can fall asleep without the comfort of me right in bed next to him.  I can't help but smother him with kisses and then sit outside his door listening with my heart aching to go in and scoop him up.  I know that this is an important step, not just for him but for his Momma too.  This parenting business has taught me so much, and you'd think by the 4th try I'd have it pretty much figured out.  I don't. 

As I knelt down to give the baby a few more smooches before I tip toed out the door whispering I love yous... I couldn't help but think about the days when I would do this to my big baby, my oldest.  He isn't so excited for me to smother him in 'smooches' anymore.  I have had to really step back and look at how I can cover him in kisses, while not covering him in kisses.  I know how to shower love on a baby like a torrential down pour, showering love on my 8 year old is a bit more difficult.  He rarely demands my attention and can easily slip through the cracks.  I want to make sure he feels the shower of love reign down on him from his parents.

This burden has been weighing heavily on my heart for all our children.  They are all magnificently different and I want to tap into their hearts and fill it with Momma love.  It takes time.  It takes commitment.  The most difficult for me, it takes patience. 

I don't have it figured out.  I don't even have a game plan.  It is just a heavy burden on my heart as I pour as much as I can into these awesome little creatures God has allowed us to 'claim' on this side of Heaven.  As they grow, the parenting challenges become bigger and increase in intensity.  I often feel like I am buckling with the weight and I often just sit back and marvel at how lovely these little people are.  I often wonder if this really is my life. 

I want them to know that I marvel at them.  That I feel so blessed that they are part of our family.  I want them to know that I love them so much that my heart physically hurts.  I want them to know that I can't help but smirk at their Daddy over our dinner conversations because they are so stinken' cute.  I want them to know that it is an honor to fold their little shirts and even though I beg them to not get grass stains on their church pants... I know that running in the fresh spring grass beckons my one son's name and I smile knowing how much he loves Creation.  I want them to know how much I love listening to them read next to me, with my arm wrapped around their waist...and how it is so comforting to have them so close that my eyes drift off to sleep. 

I want them to know that I fail every single day being a Mom, but my failures have no measure on how much I love and adore them.  I want them to know that being a Mom has changed me more than anything else in this world and that I pray every single day, sometimes moment by moment that God will continue to work in my heart.  I pray that my failures will become less and less and the time between them would grow.  And that space would just fill with a tender loving Momma.

I want them to know that I love them, to the moon and back.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Skinny Girl...

...with weight issues.

Yes, that is me.  I have thought about this post for a long time.  I have battled this battle within daily, multiple times a day for the last 4 or so years.  Please bare with me.  Don't judge me because I am 'skinny'.  I am baring it all here, and I feel quite vulnerable about it.

I never cared or worried about my weight or what I looked like.  I was always the athletic chick.  I could eat a box of those little debbie brownies and then go play a whole soccer game.  My mom always joked with me at how high my metabolism was and I would laugh it off.  I kept active in college and can't even remember if I gained the "freshmen 15".  I honestly can't tell you what I weighed until 4 years ago with the exception of pregnancies when I was weighed regularly.

It was after the birth of my daughter that I got a little crazy.  Running became an obsession for me.  There were times when I really did enjoy it, but for the most part I ran to burn off calories.  I began to hate my body post 3 pregnancies and 3 c-sections.  Discontentment began to rise in my heart and I found comparison rearing it's ugly head.  I wanted the size 3 pants and small clothing.  I thought I would find happiness in a number on a scale.

It is crazy.  Why?  Because I have all I could have ever imagined.  I am married to a man who is head over heals in love with me, he adores me and provides for us.  My children are just amazing.  I have a great extended family.  So why did I need to find happiness in a meaningless number on the scale?  Crazy.  As I've gotten older, I've seen the discontentment with our bodies as women.  We struggle for control.  It all fits together.  It all strikes right through my heart.

So 4 years ago, running became something sick for me.  I started eating as few calories as possible.  Weighing myself multiple times a day.  Hoping to see the numbers drop on the scale.  I was hoping to find happiness in that number but as the numbers dropped happiness still eluded me.  I found myself struggling to get out of bed.  My body began to fail me.  I physically couldn't run and I watched the numbers creep back up on the scale. 

I cringe when someones says to me, "If only I could loose 10 pounds, then I'd be happy."  Or, "I just need to loose this little bit of weight."  I lost 20lbs and I was no more happy then when I first started loosing the weight.  Happiness has NOTHING to do with the number on the scale, it has to do with the heart.  It has to do with our relationship to the Maker of the Universe.  It has to do with trusting Him!  

It has been a battle.  To enjoy running again without me becoming obsessive.  It is me finding joy in the girl God created me to be regardless of what the scale says.  It is stepping on the scale and not finding my worth in that number.

I am running now for the first time in 2 years.  I am running with my boys.  I am focusing on where God has me and driving forward toward contentment with this body that has brought 4 healthy babies to be part of our family.  Don't look at the skinny girl and think that she is blissfully happy, she may just be struggling with issues you couldn't imagine!

I, by no means, have this figured out.  I am very much on the journey.  Not near the beginning, and no where near the end.   God is still working on me, and I am constantly telling myself to knock it off and trust in the One who made me. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"I Could Never Do That..."

When I tell people I home school our kiddos, a super cape must begin flapping behind me.  I am always told, "Wow, that is so hard. I could never do that." I am never quite sure how to respond because neither can I. I am usually on the brink of tears and frustration abounds in my sinful heart as I crave the "me" time everyone tells me I should have.  Believe me, the line is not short of people telling me to send my kids off to public school so I can have a break.

The problem is, God has called us to home school our children.  Yea, Yea...I DO crave and WANT time alone.  I really do want to go to the grocery store without it being a circus production and come home not utterly exhausted from corralling children.  (My children are well behaved, in my opinion.  But they only last so long before the baby attempts to abandon ship aka. the cart and the temptation to touch is just to much.)  I would really enjoy being able to make plans with girlfriends during the day...but homeschooling make friendships difficult. 

When I start listening to the people who are saying "send them to school" or "look what you are missing out on", then I start to get a little testy.  A little grumpy about the blessing God has given me.  He has given me the opportunity to home school my lovelies.  It doesn't mean I wear a cape.  It means I get through a day by His Grace.  Because, honestly, I don't know how I do it either.  It doesn't mean I possess a quality that some of these other Momma's don't have.  Because I don't have it.  I was (or am?) a trained teacher to a room full of students on roughly the same level, not this crazy all over the page craziness.  I have a climbing baby who is most interested in seeing what he can dump or tear apart or see how high he can climb or what baby proof lock he can break.  I have a preschooler who I am sure knows letters, sounds, and numbers but it isn't the most important thing in her world.  I have a 1st grader who needs a ton of reassurance and every lesson I transform into an actress to teach him. My 2nd grader hates to see anything less than 100% on his papers and is reading a few grades above level. 

God has called us to sacrifice.  And no, I don't have a cape.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Basics

I've been in somewhat of a pit, always striving yet always missing the mark.

This week I got back to the basics.  Back to the priorities, away from my own selfish desires.  And I re-discovered grace that rains down from heaven.  The kind of rain that the sun shines through and the warm spreads through your clothing and you want to spread you arms out wide and take off twirling in the yard. 

I am sure it is no coincidence that this all happens the week after Sam's lengthy basketball season ends.

I often find that I am struggling with the sacrifices that are needed for homeschooling.  I sometimes, ok more than sometimes, find myself jealous of others that can freely go and come during the day.  I try and do that.  It fails and backfires in my face immediately.  I was in this vicious cycle for a few months.  Spending too much time out of the house, away from schooling, coming home and being frustrated that we didn't complete as much school work as I had hoped that week.  Then I would blow up.  Frustration in abundance for all. 

I've spent this week getting back to the priorities.  God has called us to home school these precious babies He has given us, and I need to be content with the call.  I am going to greatly scale back our activities for the rest of the year so we can finish the year strong.  I am going to put me feet on the solid Rock.  I am going to be content with the call that the Lord has given me, for when I am weak He makes me strong.