Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cost of Dreadfully Busy

I once heard someone say "We do what we really want to do." It was said in relation to someone saying they couldn't. Or didn't have time. Or any other myriad of excuses.

But it's true. If you really want to do it. If it matters to you. You will find a way.

Your calendar and your checkbook generally show EXACTLY where your priorities lay. We should order our priorities so that we give our best time and effort to what matters most... (Revelation 3:20, 17).

In the past I considered it very important to read to my children every night. I've often allowed myself to become so busy and TIRED lately that I no longer do this. It makes me wonder if my two younger children will have the same love for reading that my two older ones have.

We used to do a family game night...or rather nights! Every week. Just silly time to play games. And the lessons learned in family game nights can be VERY valuable. Learning to lose gracefully. Learning to win gracefully. Learning to enjoy what you're doing whether you win or lose...

Busyness distracts us from things that have real value.

I used to run a pretty reasonably ordered household. Not perfect by any means. And some days were more ordered than others. Most weeks though, we had a menu for dinners. And laundry was clean and dry-if not put away.

I feel like I've become so busy and so tired that these things have all taken a backseat. And so I become more tired. And harried. And dinner sneaks up on me every. single. night. Like I didn't know it was coming...again.

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Busyness produces fatigue.

When you're too busy you're too tired. Duh. (Yeah, Nathan would inform me I just said a bad word. And "whatever" is a "bad" word too!) Anyways, if you expend all of your energy running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you won't have energy for relationships. I'm not talking about physical energy....emotional and mental energy are huge. Absolutely paramount for relationships. I can carry on for quite a while with very little physical energy (sure, not performing at my best, but I can "function" and do the necessary things) but if I'm emotionally zapped...fuhgeddaboutit. There have been times that by the time my husband gets home I will think to tell him about something and when I open my mouth....I just close it again. It doesn't have to be anything significant-just relating a story or a thought I had earlier in the day...but it's just not worth the effort. Do you see the problem here? One of my top 3 relationships suffers. Because I haven't saved enough energy for it. 

So, what is the answer? I wish I knew. I wish I had all the answers. For me, something that has helped is just taking stock and realizing that while so many things are good, not all are good for US. And not all at once for sure.

  • We no longer attend every field trip through multiple homeschool groups.
  • We are not participating in co-op. It did not make this mama happy. And if mama ain't happy....
  • Sometimes we just stay home. And in our jammies.
  • Down-time is VALUABLE. Time when no one expects anything of you. 
  • Kids don't have to be entertained and drug from one activity to another. ----which is another post altogether!

I'd like to expand upon this this coming year. Remember my desire to live intentionally??  Well, this would be part of it. Time is a precious resource-in fact, for me, it's one of THE most important resources. "Quality time" is my primary love language (how I receive love, what I translate into "I am loved and valued")...more than gifts. More than being "served". More than words of affirmation. I don't want to hear that I'm awesome. ;) Those are words! Put your time where your mouth is and I'm feeling GREAT!

So, for this year we're going to see if we can streamline things a little more. Get rid of some of our "junk"!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy!

Veggie Tales has such a way of telling it like it is!! And they have a knack for telling Bible stories and Bible truths in a way that kids can understand and that is appropriate for kids. Now, I'm not saying that the Bible is only for grown-ups but parts of it are definitely not G-rated. I was so impressed by the King George and the Ducky movie which tells the story (roughly) of David and Bathsheba! In a kid-friendly way. Pretty amazing that the writers figured out a way to show the selfishness of King David in this particular instance in a child-appropriate way. A story of a man who had a harem of women at his disposal and yet he wanted another one. Specifically, one woman. That belonged to another man. So, he took her. In the Veggie Tales version, "King George"-who oddly resembles a cucumber-has a LOT of duckies.

King George...and his assistant-trying to explain to him that he already has a lot of duckies...
(Rubber duckies). A LOT. But there's a poor man who only has ONE very beloved duckie. (poor man! say "aaaawwwww") but King George spies this duckie as he's taking his bath--

and darn it if he's not supposed to be fighting at war with his men anyways, instead of sitting in the bathtub playing with duckies! He would not have even seen the duckie! So, he TAKES the duckie. Or rather he sends one of his servants to go get it. And, to cut to the chase....the vegetable prophet
(who might have been related to Nathan the prophet in the Bible) comes and tells him a parable where a rich man takes from a poor man...and "King George" gets irate! Until the veggie prophet tells him "You are that man!"...So, we get lots of lessons from that movie! And it's been years since we've seen that video...but we still remember the lessons and the catchy tunes!

Another one we remember often and sing is "Busy, busy, dreadfully've no idea what I have to do..." It's from the "Are You My Neighbor?" video. It's really the story of the Good Samaritan. But it's one of THE most applicable lessons for most of us these days.

We are so "busy" doing all of the important things we have to do that we don't have time to help someone. Or to rest. Or to just be a friend. And that's a sad time. I fall prey to it also...the busy-ness. DREADFUL busy-ness.

One of the biggest hurts of my life was experienced because a friend considered me too "needy". The funny thing is, I really wasn't. It took a long time for me to realize that. She just had too much on her plate to be a friend and I was the thing she felt like she could shove off the plate. And she "assumed" that I needed her attention every day. All day. That was HER assumption. Not the truth. One of the things I remember her saying most is "I'm responsible for...." She was always signing up for some thing or another. And while all of those things may have been important. And good. Too much is still too much.

And if you're too busy to be a friend and to have a're DREADFULLY busy. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh How I've Missed Thee

I've been absent for so long! I miss blogging. I truly do. And I could make time for it...although it seems that every time I find time to use the computer for "pleasure", the internet goes out. Or my pictures won't load from my phone....

This year I planned to live more intentionally. Less reactionary and more of making things happen (when possible)....well. Like most new year's resolutions....yeah.

So, when you fail at a New Year's Resolution, do you do that same one again?? I keep thinking I should. I think it was a super good resolution. Not too specific and no lofty "goals" to make. I kept it vague on purpose. So that it could go any direction I stalled out.

I think I'm going to do it again!

And blogging is going to be a part of it. I've found that as time has gone by, I've tried to make my blog look like other blogs that I've admired over the years. I need to stop that. Just like my post about comparing blog should be my own. Individual. Me.

I started my family as a real look at my family and my thoughts. I love God. But I didn't feel called to start a ministry (hopefully my life can be a ministry at times-and if it comes through in blogging that's fine!). I love working on my home. But money is often tight nonexistent, so that's not really an option most of the time--although I'd love that! I love crafting. But time and money can keep me from crafting-besides, how many crafts do I need?? I homeschool-and I'm so glad! But I don't think I'm awesome and have some new ideas that no one else has! I'm just plugging along with my kiddos. (Although this year I'm looking to spend about half of what I spent last year on my curriculum! So, that will probably make an appearance here and there!)

So, there's the update. I want to blog with no pressure. If no one reads it...well, that will have to be ok. I need to stay true to why I started this: because I like it!!!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Socializing a Lost Art?

Ironic. On many levels. I'm going to write (on a form of social media) about how social media is taking away the art of social lives. And the other irony is that many would think I don't know much about socialization since my kids are...*gasp* homeschooled!

I can't tell you how many invitations to "parties" I've received on Facebook recently. What is a party but a place people go to socialize and have fun! And now we're relegating it to the internet? I know. We're all busy.  And it's so much easier to "socialize" in our jammies. After the kids are in bed. And there's no commitment. And. and. And. But it's not a party.

I know that people are trying to run their own little businesses while carrying on with their busy lives and Facebook (etc) offer a way to be able to do that. BUT! IT'S NOT A PARTY! A party has food and conversation and friends and you meet people. You have a reason to get dressed. And be with people.

Another issue with socializing via social media (yeah, I'm on Facebook, I've been on it almost since it was available-I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, I thought it was a place to make a stick family that represented my family and have an aquarium!) is the RUDENESS. I would no sooner walk into a room where people were not invited to a party (ha! a real one) or included in a gathering and announce how much fun I had ("Oh, you weren't invited?") than I'd go to a party in my underwear (again-a real one!)...

It's so faceless and nameless and I'm aware that you are just telling how great you feel, and that's awesome. But what about the person that feels like garbage. Because they weren't included. And they might have never known and been fine with it. Until they see it announced. Just what they missed.

I have no idea if I will be leaving facebook anytime soon (so often it's where I find out what is going on in the homeschool community, etc!) but I imagine a world where manners matter. And people go to real parties. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Dangerous Game

Wanna know what one of the most dangerous games is? Dangerous for your peace of mind, your confidence? Your happiness? Your joy?


Seriously. And I know this and I still fall into the trap. 

I don't know which bothers me more, when I catch myself comparing myself to others...or when I hear people comparing themselves to me. 


Someone will always be skinnier. Have more money. Be stronger. Have a nicer house. Be more creative. Have smarter kids *gasp*...yes, I just said that! 


 Can you imagine if you saw what happened on the way to church between that couple that looks so perfect? They might have had a screaming match! (I mean, I hope not, but it's possible!)  I once caught myself comparing another couple to my husband and myself and how he always had his arm around his wife and my husband just doesn't really do that too often. Guess what? They're divorced! And while my marriage is not's strong and steady. And I love my marriage! I really truly do! And I was looking at that other couple with envy. *Sigh*

That person that has an awesome car? Or a gorgeous, huge house? Maybe they are so deep in debt to have that stuff that they are barely surviving the anxiety. Or they have to work so much that they don't enjoy the real stuff in life. Time off. Family. Friends.

We only see what people choose to show us most of the time. It's only your life that you know inside and out. The good, the bad and the UGLY! 

If you're always busy comparing yourself to others and focusing on can you be you? How can you even know who "you" is!? Let go of images. Let go of being someone you aren't. Let go of perfect! Be you!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Littlest

Wanna know what the littlest does during homeschool?

You're really glad when there's an extra little chalkboard during a spelling lesson.

You can do really fun things with a pointy finger thingy.

More pointy finger thingy fun.

Take a break to look at the Bass Pro Catalog! (In your monkey undies)

Empty washer to spin....

I want "YOU".

Still with the pointy finger thingy...
And you're reeeeeeally glad when there's somebody to play with you (brother finished his schoolwork in time to play!)
And some things that weren't pictured? throwing "frice" (rice-remember?) into the backside of our boxfan so that it flies out the other side....rawwwring like a dinosaur...doing a puzzle with numbers and saying letters...a homeschool day in the life of a homeschool family's 3 year old!

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Day!

Today we started school for the new school year-2013/2014! I'd like to say it's just because I follow the "old school" calendar for a school year (September through June) but more than that it was because we were finishing up some of last year's work-and some of it just plain didn't get finished. And it's OKAY. I used to really stress over that (you know, used to as in a month ago) but then I had several people remind me that in public school they don't always (or is it that they almost never) finish an entire book. And as I looked back on my school career I realized it was true! So, I have to be okay that there were a few unfinished lessons. We were all so done with those books!

Today, started a little rocky. I decided to take a nap yesterday. You know, "one last" nap? Only I slept too long and couldn't sleep last night. So, getting out of bed at my new self-imposed time (**gasp 7:00 am**) was not the easiest thing in the world! Then I tried to go for a run and darn it...even with my knee hurt! So, I tried to come back in but the kids didn't hear my knocking so I ended up going for a walk instead. Then it started raining. Right on me! But I got to see this:

So see? If I had been let in the house and not walked in the rain I'd have missed the rainbow!

Then during first day picture taking...there was some cat poop in the yard (we don't have a cat by the way). One kid stepped in it. Yuck! (My fault! I told them where to stand.) But look at these pics?!

Pictures like that might be worth a little mess! I can hardly believe I have a 9th grader, a 7th grader, a 2nd grader and my "baby" is 3 1/2!!! (See where I got the subtitle for my Blog??)

Overall our day went pretty well despite a few poopy moments. I don't like our spelling curriculum. And of course, like any first day, there were a few awkward moments trying to figure out how a curriculum works or why I planned the work the way I did...Or when 3 kids needed my attention all at once. That's always rough. No matter where we are or what we're doing.

I can see quite a difference in Haley's work this year from last year-her writing is smoother and less painful. And her reading? OHMYGOSH. She can read. Completely! All the reading over the summer (I assigned reading from chapter books that I knew would challenge her a little bit at rest time) helped!

Nathan was so excited to get into his "frice". I try to find some things to keep him a little occupied and a favorite is the "frice" bucket. He buries little toys in it and tries to find them....he has been very anxious to get to his frice for weeks. But he had to wait til school! Unfortunately, when I find something that is super interesting to him, Haley tends to want to play it too!!!

Our classroom: (we are in need of some new chairs, a rug and a microscope! but for now, I'm just thankful to have a school room)
My class! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Year!

No, I really know it's not January yet. ;) But to me a new school year is almost better than a new actual year! With a new school year you get new pencils, folders, paper and notebooks!!! That's so much better!! (If you're a nerd)

I've been missing a lot this summer. We've been pretty busy this summer and we've traveled quite a bit (could be why we're broke, but hey!) and when I've been home it seems like we've had one technical difficulty after another-either the internet has been out or the laptop was having I just took it as a time to take a break from blogging for a bit.

But as we start the new school year-my 10th! But who's counting? -I started thinking again about why I homeschool. It's so easy to get caught up in so many things. And which things will secure my child's future the best and you have to have the perfect curriculum or how will they ever get into the right college? If they can't write a perfect essay, what if their SAT scores fall short? OMGosh!!!! And what if you don't put them in Speech and Debate? They won't be able to argue effectively (actually, that's not a problem with my kids). And what if the boys miss a season of baseball? GASP! They might not play in the major leagues one day!!! **FAINT**

Do you see where I'm going with this? All this frantic "join everything" mentality gets in the blood!!! (And socialization is nowhere in my list of worries, since the first year I homeschooled it has not ever been a problem!) There are so many opportunities out there for homeschoolers and for everyone that you can allow yourself to be sucked into every one of them and it will drive you and your kids crazy.

The odds that my children will play major league anything? Probably somewhere around....oh, nil. (And it's not always for the best! Have you ever thought about how many of those people end up in BIG trouble?) But the odds that they will need to know how to be a good family member? Oh, probably around....1000%!!!

My main reason for homeschooling is this: God's word tells us that what the world considers wise, God considers foolish. And what God considers wise, the world mocks as foolishness.

1 Corinthians 3:18: Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.

My first and foremost concern is that my children have wisdom that will have eternal significance. Am I doing a perfect job at this? Absolutely not. But, I have their best interests at heart and besides...I like having them with me. ;)

So, all of the perfect activities, perfect curriculum, socialization and all the education in the world...means nothing to God.

**disclaimer: I do value education and I literally obsess over which curriculum to buy and how to supplement it and when I realize I have forgotten something I panic! I want my children to be well educated and live this life to the fullest!!! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Due to technical difficulties and never having time to figure it out, this post is what it is..the first two pictures are just a random thermal feature...


To recap, our adventures have included Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, a train ride in Durango, CO and some new friends! and now onto Yellowstone! Although, honestly, any of the before mentioned places could have been a full vacation on their own, Yellowstone was the original intention. We just saw so many opportunities on the way, so we took advantage of them.

But, Yellowstone! Another really neat thing I have not mentioned so far is that my older kids did (or rather are doing) a History curriculum called "America the Beautiful" and Yellowstone and Mesa Verde National Park were in it! The kids had already studied those places and had their interest piqued! How neat is that? (yeah, I'm a nerd, so what?)
I'm hoping this will help give an idea of what I'm referring to when I mention areas....

Lindsay had a list of 3 things she really wanted to see at Yellowstone so we made sure to include those. You'll see pictures of all 3 in this post!

While driving the final leg of our journey we got some news that was pretty devastating to me-we had all been planning on my grandparents moving here and spending lots of time with them. Their house here was READY for them. All the work had been done. But a little over a month ago my grandma had to be taken to the hospital for her heart (atrial fibrillation and some bad valves and some blockage)....the drs said there was no way she could travel the 900'ish miles from there to here without having open heart surgery. Ok, no problem! But through all of this (and thank God the surgery went well) my grandpa decided he just couldn't that's what I found out. Yes, I know...she's okay and that's what counts. But man was I looking forward to some time with my grandparents and for my kids to get to know them it hurt! And the timing was less than wonderful. Sometimes I think it was BETTER when there were no cell phones. You couldn't get that kind of bad news on vacation. Right? I cry about once a year. Seriously. Just not a crier (not always a good thing, to not be able to cry, ya know?)...I cried for HOURS. Couldn't stop! But was trying to not let my kids see because I didn't want to put a damper on their special time. We had all looked forward to this for MONTHS!

So, driving the last leg, barely able to see through my tears...I saw a MOOSE! (the only one we would see in fact!) I'm more excited about it now than I was then...and we got to our hotel and checked in (Shout out to the Kelly Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana! Great place to stay in my opinion!) was pretty late but it stays light for a long time in Montana in the summer-in case you wondered.

The next morning I just could not pull out of my funk/depression. It seriously felt like my medications weren't working (remember, I deal with depression). The family went to breakfast and I laid in bed. And cried. And then, texting with my best friend and my mom...I managed to, with her help, realize that I needed to pull out of this and do this thing. For my kids. And basically I had to fake it til I could make it. I'm so glad I did! I got in the shower and this is what I found on my bedside table when I got out:

Who can argue with that? So, off we went to the IMAX (Yellowstone was the feature of course! I thought it might be good to see that first and get an idea of what we were seeing/looking for). And then next door to the Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center!!!!

This guy was the low man on the totem pole in his pack and for some reason he just seemed so downtrodden. :( We all felt a little sad for him....

We went back to the Center later in the day to see the "feeding" of the wolves. You don't actually see the feeding but they take the wolves out of the enclosure/habitat to feed them and while they're gone the "keepers" come in and enrich the habitat. This is when the wolves were coming back in to their habitat to explore. It was really interesting!

We got really lucky and the day we went was the day of the week that they put live fish in their little stream! We thought maybe the wolves wouldn't care that much but wow! They went to town! Caught them all and ate them!

We finished at the Discovery Center and off we went into the park (yay!)

The first day or two you are pretty impressed with bison...then you have seen enough. LOL

But we loved seeing the mamas and babies. Even bison are cute with their babies!

Annnnnd....OLD FAITHFUL! We waited for quite a while and it was COOOOLD!!! (Apparently Montana doesn't really consider June to be summer!) And the funny thing is, it wasn't nearly as impressive as so many other of the thermal features at the park!? I was a little disappointed because it's the most famous!

Poor Nathan caught something just in time for our trip. :( Poor little guy was pretty miserable...and his cough sounded like he was strangling! We were a little (ok, a lot!) nervous because he has a scary history with croup that gets bad really fast with little warning! He was such a trooper most of the time though...Big brother is covering him up with his own jacket here!
Just to the right of the middle of the picture you can see a "pop" of bubbling mud. It was pretty cool! Hard to capture it in the picture though. :( Below is the description.

Doesn't this look like such a waste-land? Yet in the background you can see the gorgeous evergreens!

We were all set to walk around in the Old Faithful Area and my WONDERFUL husband came up with the idea to rent one of these bike trailer/strollers! It was the BEST idea I think he's ever had!! These two would have been alternately running around scaring me to death and complaining about how tired they were (before again running is that "tired" children have energy to run around making you crazy?) At any rate...this stroller saved us a lot of grief (=best $12 ever spent!!!!)
Is she not one of the cutest things you've ever seen!? She bought a journal in her souvenir shopping and she was writing about her experiences in it while we waited for a geyser to go off. :)

This was one of the things she had her heart set on seeing! The Morning Glory Pool. It was pretty neat. Sadly, all the "orangey-brown" color is from algae growing due to people throwing things into the spring and therefore blocking the hole at the bottom, so the water cools just enough to let algae grow. But, the colors were still gorgeous.

If you want to know why they have to put fences around these thermal features..people have jumped into them and DIED. We bought a book called "Death in Yellowstone" while we were there and it describes the stupidity that people exhibit! I can't believe that people are dumb enough to jump into BOILING water. And then they're surprised when they...die!
No words needed, huh? Just beautimous!
See the steam? That water was probably beyond frigid, yet there was a hot spring off to the side of it.

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