Category Archives: Daily Happenings

The Curse of Pride

Pride is something we may have heard mentioned time and time again. But not until a couple years ago did I realize what it truly was.

I wanted to make no mistakes. I wanted my children to make no mistakes. I wanted to have a very clean house and keep up with everything. I worked very hard at it.

But one day, realizing that the fact that I believed that I could make no mistakes, was in itself pride. I believed that I could be perfect. I believed that was what was demanded of me. By God, by fellow humans and well, just the whole of society.

Then it went on to my children. When my children had struggles in school, I blamed myself. I believed that it was me that caused their issues, or them. One of us was not working hard enough. I tended to blame myself more than them, but continued to look for a solution.

When my first son was diagnosed with learning disability, it felt like a relief, but I felt guilty that I was relieved. I felt like I had failed somehow. I had failed perhaps in my pregnancy, and that was why. Maybe I had done something wrong in their infant hood and they bonked their heads one too many times. But in the end, it was admitting that there was a lack of perfection in us. It came down to pride. It was hard to admit that there was an issue.

I have seen parents that get prickly when you call it a disability. “Why can’t we call it, “a unique learning style”? they ask.  Or they steadfastly persist, “There is nothing wrong with him/her. He/she is just a little unique, but they are work harder and be normal.”

I sometimes wonder if we are only this way with less obvious disabilities. If someone was born without a leg, would we force them to crawl on the floor because they should not depend on a crutch? Would we say that they should not have all the opportunities to help them to walk, because we are pretending they do not have a missing limb?

When someone has a special need, a disability, we need to teach our children to embrace it. Forgo pride in perfection.  Perfection is overrated anyhow! When we embrace our imperfections that is when pearls are formed. We can thrive and do more than when we are trying to be “normal”.

Let’s not ignore our children’s needs for our own pride. If we can embrace our imperfections, stop blaming ourselves for something that had nothing to do with us, we can thrive and be joyful.

Our joy can come from loving how we are, our mistakes and laugh or cry through them.

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A Slow Burn…

There are times in life when comments really can eat away at you.

I am a fairly even tempered person. I can get frustrated on occasion with the normal things in life, messes, children that argue, things that do not seem to go right. But I more often tend to have anxiety than frustration.  I will generally blame myself over someone else.

But recently a myriad of comments seem to build up and cause a slow burn deep within, that culminated in a form of sadness and then anger.

What did it teach me?

People don’t think before they speak.  Including myself at times, although I used to agonize over every word I spoke. The fact that now I can speak my own mind without over analyzing it, is actually healthier than when I did think it through. But I digress.  If other do actually think before they speak, they often speak in ignorance.

My mom is this incredibly positive person, and tries to find the silver lining in every rain cloud. However, sometimes I am realizing, it is okay to be hurt. It is okay to be disappointed. It is okay to not be positive about something.

It is okay to be hurt when people ignore your talents and praise someone else that does the same thing as you.

It is okay when someone tells you that your work is foolishness and in fact, might be sinful to ask others to enjoy it, to feel indignant. (In this case, writing fiction).

It is okay when people speak of your siblings and praise their looks, but have never once complimented you to feel pain.

The slow burn of hurt that culminates in anger from seeing someone you love and care about be abused and controlled by someone that claims to love them is painful to feel.

But it is okay. It is okay to be angry sometimes. It is okay to be hurt. It is what we do with it that can be wrong. If I turn around and scream at someone else because of the anger inside, that is not the healthiest way to cope. But if I journal, confront the behavior or even channel my energy into something healthy, it can help me to grow and be different.

There is not a silver lining in every cloud. Sometimes some people are just mean. Sometimes things are not going to turn out okay. Sometimes people you love die. Men abandon their families. People abuse one another. There is no silver lining there. Sometimes we do ourselves and others a disservice when we look for the positive.

I am not saying to wallow in it. But there is something about a real grieving period where allow ourselves to be hurt, sad and even angry for a time to be able to heal. If we are always looking for the good in it, it is not able to heal. We can’t pretend we are not cut. That doesn’t encourage healing. But when we embrace the pain, work with the pain, like in childbirth, we are able to give birth to a baby.

Don’t let anger turn to bitterness, but embrace the pain.

Today, my hurts, though they are private are many, but I choose to embrace it. I will not fight the pain, but I will fully live in it.

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A Life of Service

There are many people in my life that have a life of service. I can look around and name people that I see on a daily basis.

I know that they have not only spent their life serving others, but they will continue to. Not only that, but their children are continuing the tradition.

Volunteering has always been a part of my life. It is something you do for others, as much as yourself. It enriches our lives as well as others.

However, how much is too much? When does serving others become a means of avoidance of living our own lives?

I recently gave a little talk on self-care for a group of homeschooling mothers. It was very simple and not terribly formatted. I realized though, that often what some people take for granted as normal, every day activities, constituted self-care for many homeschooling mothers and I believe mothers in general. This was the basic checklist we went over.

Self Care Checklist

 

  • Have I scheduled my physical this year?
  • When did I last shower?
  • Have I had a new haircut in the last year?
  • Does my bed have fresh sheets on it?
  • What hobby have I not touched in awhile? Find one that takes 15-20 minutes and set aside time in the day to do it for only 15-20 minutes.
  • Do a series of exercises that take 5-10 minutes every day
  • Did I eat today something with protein, a green leafy vegetable and fruit? How many times did I do that?

Many of us, as mothers, moms, would not hesitate to jump in to volunteer for a good project, but we might look at this list and feel overwhelmed. “A hobby? What is that? I shouldn’t be wasting time on stuff like that.”

I love volunteering. I love doing things to serve others. But I have had to realize that sometimes in order to be a healthy servant to others, I have to take care of myself first.

Sometimes this means taking a day of resting and doing nothing, even if you don’t have the time. When I feel I am fighting sickness, I force myself to stay in bed or on the couch for a day. I drink lots of fluids and just sleep or rest all day. It really knocks out sickness faster than anything and revives me for the week. If I go a week without a day of rest, even from going to good places, I end up depleted and worn down. I tend to snap when I don’t want to, have less patience and really just am not the nicest person.

If you can’t take care of yourself for you, do it for others. It is one of the best gifts you can give to other people. Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others.

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The Power of Assumptions

You ever let your mind get carried away with assumptions? It can be easy to do.

I know that I have been very distressed that someone was upset with me, based on a cryptic  text or email, only to find out that once again, I thought it was about me, when in reality, they were super tired and just didn’t communicate well.

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We can look at a photo and assume laziness, disobedience, or even abuse, when truly we read the photograph wrong.

Assumptions can ruin someone’s life. They can go too far and make someone feel absolutely horrible about themselves. It hurts when someone assumes that my children’s learning disabilities are because of a lack of teaching or because of lack of smarts.

It truly pains me when someone feels that assuming that they know why someone is treating you badly, and assume it is because of a fault you committed.

It is also easy to assume that everyone is thinking ill of you when they are not.

If we did a little less assuming and a little more listening, seasoned with grace, it would make life much easier and smoother.

When we get the cryptic email, writing back and asking if they are okay could solve and clear it all up.

If we hear someone was sick, we don’t assume they have not tried essential oils. Instead, you might ask before you flood their inbox with expensive vitamins and oils they can purchase from you. On the flip side, I can assume they meant the best when they did that, but also send back a firm reply with my wishes and boundaries on the topic.

Assumptions can kill friendships, ruin families and destroy marriages. We can do better with reframing how we think and how we assume.

Don’t assume the worst or even the best of someone.

Don’t assume someone is safe that has abused others in the past because you want to think the best of them.

Don’t assume that when someone gets divorced that “there are two sides to every story”. Sometimes there is only one.

Don’t assume that someone is out to get you. Be wise, careful and safe. But don’t go on the offensive to start.

The power of the assumption can control our life. It can make us believe in ourselves or doubt our decision making. We can assume that we are worthless because others have told us so in their assumptions. We can believe a lie because everyone else assumed along with you.

Break the power of assumptions.

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Busy Days…

Life has been a bit busy and my internet on my computer has been spotty, which combined means I do not get to update my blog as much. I have tons of book reviews and pictures and activities to upload.

But I guess on the good side, it means we are living life, and I just have not had time to share it with my readers.

I will update soon!

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The Need For Community

Independence. It is something we all strive for.

We want to teach our children to be independent, strong, confident people. We want them to be self motivated, investors in their futures.

I have seen talks, articles, and many friends say how they don’t have time for friendship. I myself struggle with making the time for what is important.

But as I watched a talk by Maggie Doyne this morning on Love, I was reminded of some of the cliches we have been taught or teach our children.

“You can do it by yourself.”

“You don’t need me.”

“You don’t need anyone else to make you happy.”

While in a sense, they might be true, those same words rob us of community.

I know that in times past, many people were isolated for months out of the year. Some people died from the lack of companionship, support and just being alone.

I am an introvert. I thrive off of being alone. My most refreshing moments are when  I spend the day not talking, just reading, writing or in disengaging activities. I feel revived and as though I can take on the world. So, you know I am not talking about running around, making sure your social calendar is booked to the max. I am talking about community.

When you have something bad that happens to you, who can you turn to?

Who have you invested in that would be there for you, if you needed it?

Who have you been there for?

I remember a time when I felt like there was no one I could call. I wanted to go to a cooking show with friends as it is more fun if you go with someone. I realized that outside my family, I had not developed friendships. It was not a priority to me. I felt I was better off on my own. It was painful to open your heart to love. I mean, you could get hurt. It was stressful for me too. I often stumble on my words, have times where I don’t know how to maintain a conversation and struggle with the basics. (I have improved, but it still happens.)

I sat there wishing I had someone to go with, and on a whim called up two people that I knew in passing and asked them to go. They are two of the most amazing people, and it was so worth it to take that risk (for me), and step out of my comfort zone to build some community.

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Fred, myself and Tiffany

You know, how not easy it is to build a friendship and lose it? When you love someone, it hurts when you lose them. It hurts when they have pain.

12 years ago, my husband was in a hospital four hours away. I had a new baby, and three other little active boys. My community that I had worked hard to build had mostly turned their back on me. I left a cult group that a few wanted to support me, but were prevented. One woman sacrificed a lot to come and be by my side when I gave birth. I was ashamed to tell anyone what was going on with my husband. Those I did tell, felt it was too much, too messy and were hesitant to even have me as a friend. Who wants to take on a friendship with a family where the husband has a severe mental illness and four very active boys?  It was a lot of work to be my friend.

So, I remember, sitting in my home, encumbered by depression, thoughts of things I would not want to admit aloud, and decided to make a change.

I lacked community, but I was going to seek out how I could be community for others. It might be too much for them to be there for me, but I could see how I could be there for them.

MOPS was a stepping stone for me in this. I was able to reach out by cooking breakfast for other moms, helping with clean up and set up.

Last night, I met with several other moms to discuss the best ways we can support our community of homeschool moms. I sat there realizing that my journey, from someone that could barely string two-three words together in a coherent sentence, I was discussing being a speaker, setting up speakers and plans for reaching others.

I don’t want to need people. I want to be able to do this on my own.

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Instead, I have been shown that we need community. We need older women to encourage us and come alongside us in the journey.

We need someone to say, “It was really hard. Here is a hug.”

My son had surgery about two weeks ago now.

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Instead of feeling like I was going through it alone, I was not. I not only had family, but someone dropped off a meal for me, I had a friend come by the surgery center and drink a cup of tea with me while waiting. I was surrounded by the thoughts  and prayers of many, and many that know my son.

I don’t say this because I want others to say, “Oh, that is nice for her, but I have no one. I have no family, no church, no community here. Why is she bragging on what she has?”

It is because I have been where I had no one. I had no one to turn to and nothing to live for. I felt worthless, and wondered if others would be better off without me here many times.

I made a choice to work hard to build community. It is not easy. I have not always become fast friends with everyone I come in contact with. Most friendships are still shallow or surface. Many people still do not realize what my life is like on an everyday level or some of the daily struggles that cause me to have to look for community.

Honestly, it would be easier to stay home, read my books, write, and even stay in my bed all day, most days.

I realize though that we were not created as individuals to survive without companionship, much as I wish we could. And as I said, I thrive off of being alone! But serving others and offering support to others, is a tiring, but also reviving way of living.

I watched as many families sought an isolationist lifestyle. They cut off contact in many forms. Some do this to a certain extent with “cutting out Facebook”, “reducing screen time”, “focusing on their family” and other things that sound good on the outside. Other families push themselves into so much social activities they never have the chance to actually build community when they need it. No one really knows them, but everyone knows them. Neither one is right.

If we want our children to want to stay near to us, we need to foster a sense of community that makes them believe they are loved and belong where we live. They need to know that we are there for them, the community is there, and they have friends wherever they go.

If they look back at their childhood, they should have people that meant something to them. They may not marry who they are around exactly, but most people marry someone similar to a counterpart close to them. The people you are around will define your life. If it is only the people you see in the grocery store, those are the people that will define your life.

My encouragement to you, is to take time to foster community. Take time to build friendships. Take the chance. Invite the semi strangers to the cooking shows or to have PB and J sandwiches in the park. The worst they can do is turn you down. Sometimes it still means you cannot leave your home. Sending a card, donating $5 to a cheer box for someone, or a kind FB massage or text can really make someone’s day and build community.

But, in the meanwhile, you may find community deeper than you realize. Your life can be changed when you need help and you ask for it, you might just have someone to ask.

I am a strong, independent woman. I know I can do things on my own, but I know I can do better if I work with others and let them be my community as well.

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MFW-Creation to Greeks Week 1

This school year has been challenging. There has barely been time to breathe and live, let alone prepare for another school year.

I made the decision that we will be focusing on language arts and math, so while we are doing Creation to Greeks for history, it is going to be the enhancement of our school.

First of all, my living room looked like a tornado went off, as I pulled boxes out of old school papers, student sheets, photos and other things. It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate.

6th Grade- 

Math-Teaching Textbooks

Math Drill-Flash cards, Market Math and Times Tales

BJU English

Explode the Code

MFW Creation to Creeks

Apologia General Science

365 writing journal

8th grade

Math- Teaching Textbooks

Times Tales

BJU Writing and Grammar

MFW Creation to Greeks

Apologia General Science

365 Writing Journal

10th grade

Math-Teaching Textbooks

Ed Ready Math

Checkbook math

BJU Writing and Grammar

MFW World History and Literature

Apologia Biology

Italian

12th grade

Algebra 2

Consumer Math

Anatomy and Physiology

College Prep writing

Public speaking

American History

Singing

Russian

 

First day is done, and I am ready for the challenge of the year.

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Back to School?

“Mom, why do they have signs for “Back to School”? My son asked me after a trip to the store this afternoon.

“Well, son, school will be starting again in about a month and half. They want people to buy supplies now.”

Horror shone in his eyes as suddenly panic began to overwhelm both of us, thinking about getting back to the daily grind of school. “But, summer just started!”

Isn’t that how it feels so many times? I feel like the stores cause some of these panicky moments where we feel like we are behind instead of feeling ahead.

We push, push, push to get all the school in we can. Summer school! Activities packed in. Go, go, go. Work, work, work, to make the money so we can do the activities, and then we feel on the edge of collapse.

Next week is a week of doing no normal activities, and I have to say, I am looking forward to it.

I believe people should not be idle. But there is a balance between idleness and busyness. We can be too busy and sometimes, when you are poor, there is no helping that. It is life for us, to work hard.

But hard is not bad. A busy life can be a productive and good life. But choose what you are busy with and live deliberately just a bit.

Back to school? For us, we decided to not think about school for a bit, even though we need to do some reviewing. I read something that encouraged brains to allow them to refresh. My son that has trouble with focus is doing so well without the pressure of school right now. I am honestly dreading the constant push to get them to learn. I love the ease of learning through interest and sometimes get tempted to do something different as far as learning.

Let’s not be like the stores. Let’s not rush winter, into summer clothing. Rush summer to back to school. Let’s enjoy the moments we have and not think of what we have to do every day in the future. Enjoy the day that is here.

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Fear…gift or curse?

Is fear a gift or a curse? I believe it can be both.

I recently, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker

It was an amazing book that really helped me to see some of the positives of fear, the feeling in your “gut” or intuition. But what else it helped me with, was to be able to identify when fear can be a curse.

We all know someone that allows fear of something to control them. It is not always wrong. Perhaps someone had a traumatic event occur and they are in the healing process. It is normal to avoid reoccurring events. It may appear to not make sense to others, but to them it is a certain and real fear.

But what about when fear endangers our lives? It then becomes a curse, risking not only us, but our children.

I grew up surrounded by people that allowed fear to control their lives. It began with the fear of the government. All fears are based in some truth, so others listened to the fear and carried it a bit further. When you are surrounded by people that allow fear to control them, eventually you attract some very interesting people.

There was a man that refused to speak. He would wander in the woods, occasionally whispering in a foreign language, stealing useless items and wrapping them in paper. Some thought something was messed up in his mind, especially when he fixated his odd gifts on a young woman in the church. Low and behold one day, we discovered that not only could he speak, but he spoke in perfect English with a British accent. What could make a man stay silent and alone for so many years?

The woman that dressed in odd supposedly Amish clothing, told stories that bordered on the truth about a life of seclusion, abuse and odd cultures among a group of Amish that no one knew if they really existed. We never proved it, but in the end, we believed she actually had kidnapped the children she claimed to be her own, possibly from an Amish community. We proved her stories wrong numerous times, and she eventually tried to use her fear of losing control to seek to sow discord among anyone that knew us. ‘

Then there were the con artists. They piled things around the entire interior of their house, to protect themselves from outsiders. She claimed to be a doctor, but did not even know how to take blood pressure. A large German shepherd dog graced the home, warning others to take care. Every opportunity they had to seek to cause an issue, they took, claiming fear of authority, government, and refusing to get real work. They would vanish for time periods, dress oddly and then suddenly change appearances. When we discovered they were on the most wanted list for embezzlement and identity theft, we were not surprised. It made a lot more sense then.

So, what do all these stories have in common with fear? Their fear of something, either the establishment, authority, led them to make up stories, that appeared to be based in facts. They were able to lead gullible people down a path, that had we not pursued the truth, we would have been conned, harmed or worse. The cautions about not going to the doctor when you were ill or hurt, don’t call poison control, don’t call the police if someone is being hurt were common place. There were always good reasons behind it.

“Oh, we believe God is the healer. He could heal that cut on your head if it is His will.”

“God created us as women to give birth. Why do we need a midwife or someone to oversee the birth. We were created for this. If we die, it must have been His will. What if they did something your baby when you were not looking?”

“If you go in and get a PKU test, they will keep your baby’s blood and maybe they will do all sorts of things with it. Or they will be suspicious of you and come to visit. Who knows what they would try to find and take away your children from you. Don’t do it!”

“If you call poison control, they will make a file on you, and if you have too many, they will call CPS and you will be investigated. CPS is horrible and they take children and ask questions later.”

I remember the first time I called poison control for my own children. I was shaking. I was so afraid that they were going to come and take my children away from me, but my son had eaten cucumber melon soap and I needed to know what to do. I was shocked and surprised when a very kind lady on the other line reassured me that it would be okay, told me what to do and let me know it was a popular flavor for children to eat. It was as though suddenly a weight was lifted off my chest. It was okay to get advise from a medical professional and they did not judge me. I was not a bad parent for calling.  I realized that neglect can be when we allow fear to allow us to over shelter, over protect, and under treat our children as well as the flip side. We often are so fearful of the one, we leave ourselves more vulnerable to the con artists, abusers that would isolate us, and those that would not allow us to reach out for help. We have been told a lie.

Yes, there are bad in the law enforcement. Yes, there are bad CPS workers. Not everyone that works for poison control is kind. But the majority of them are servants to the people. They are there for us. We are truly blessed to live in a nation where help is readily available, and we do not have to watch our children die. If we choose to allow that, then the questions begin to come.

So, let go of those fears. Use your instincts. If you want to ask someone for advice, talk to professionals that know what they are doing. Don’t ask on Facebook or Google. You can always call and not give your name if you would like, but generally that can arouse more suspicion. In the end, give your fear wings, and let it fly away. Read the book I listed above and learn how to program yourself to listen to the good parts of fear and let the others go.

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Busy, Busy, Busy…

It seems life tends to go in spurts of busy times. For us, this is a very busy time. Generally, in May, I have a chance to breathe and relax. School is mostly over, but not this year. I have been contemplating when I will have time to fit my breakdown in.

It sounds funny, but  really, I just don’t have time to schedule it in.

We have sports that consume the first half of the school year and then the theater consumes the other half. This fulfills our P.E. and Fine Arts credits, which we use for school, but it takes a lot of time and effort. The other time, we fit in all the other subjects, but like this week, they seemed to conflict an awful lot and we were working on learning on the road. I had a son that was sitting and staring at a vocabulary worksheet blankly for almost an hour. He was worn out, tired and just could not think.

We spent today working on catch up and I am not sure if any of it sunk in, but hoping so.

We had a snafu with math with computer glitches earlier in the year, so we are still working away on math and will be hitting it harder and harder in the next while. In the last calendar year, so far, we have had three deaths in the family, or near family. We may have a fourth soon and it is hard to emotionally prepare.

This was one of the scenes from the play we were in…

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