Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Open Thoughts About Organic

In an effort to squelch some assumptions I've noticed floating around in blog-land (you may know the ones I'm talking about, they like putting judgments into the mouths {or minds} of certain "types" of mommies... in this instance, those that choose organic... as if what i buy in the store defines who i am or who they are... and how apparently we're not gracious and we're always judging the non-organic mommies for not being super-human-organic heroes... those ones) i'm going to share some of my thoughts as they happen in real life situations. {this may or may not be a good idea, ha!}

my hope is to persuade you that this mama (who happens to choose organic grocery items), isn't spending her precious time judging those who don't and that i don't choose what our family eats in order to try to look like a better mom. and i don't post things on my blog to add to your list of expectations and duties for yourself ...and hopefully, this will help us all learn that we really aren't always being judged by others (but perhaps... we're allowing the enemy too great a hold in our thought life)

It's Saturday morning. I wake up and realize I forgot to get "fun brunch" items for the kids to share who had participated in a local show-choir camp. drats. and there's nothing in the house. double drats. and we slept in late. triple drats. so on my way to drop off my daughter, we stop at kroger. i grab some organic bananas, organic strawberries and organic yogurt slurpy things (that are overpriced, because they're in individual slurpy packages, but thankfully marked down a little that day). let me just say, i don't choose organic because i want to shove it in other peoples faces, i choose organic because it's what i always buy (just like i prefer a certain kind of salsa over another, it's just what i get) so we walk into the theater and my daughter takes off with the bag. i at least had the chance to tell her to make sure to eat some of what we brought and that she could pick one other "bread" item from what other people would bring. {now this is the daughter who has cavities, so i'm trying to be pretty strict with her, but not kill ALL her fun ALL the time}. but in all honesty, what i would have preferred was that she not even have the organic yogurt cause it's still pretty loaded with sugar or any bread item at all because we are doing our best to avoid bread because of the cavities}.

As I walked out, a mom walked in with two boxes of donuts. my thought was "oh i hope my daughter can resist all the donuts cause I know I couldn't"

Later when we went to pick up the left over items, I noticed someone else had brought yogurt slurpies and bananas too!! my thought "whew, at least i didn't look like a TOTAL freak for not bringing donuts or muffins". (remember no one even saw me, but still i was concerned about how it looked, sheesh)

and since i didn't have a bag to put my "sticks-out-like-a-sore-thumb" organic items, i went around the outside of where all the people were just so they wouldn't see what i had and think i was trying to show off my organic purchases.

THE REVIEW: let me summarize and comment on these events:
1. Did you notice that my thoughts were not focused on trying to decide whether a mother was good or bad at any point in my day? (no one can rightly judge our hearts and motives based on what we carry out of a grocery store or into a kids fun-brunch)

2. I was not defining or labeling or categorizing moms based on whether they were carrying donuts or organic bananas. (we are not defined by things or the choices we make that fall in the areas outside of the core/central moral beliefs. Our definition and identity comes from the Father alone.)
3. I too, like so many moms, wondered what someone was thinking about me, which tells me that everyone is most likely concerning themselves with themselves and so I can probably stop worrying about it altogether. (the enemy wants division among God's people, but we should choose to encourage one another and stand united against the common enemy, not each other.)

4. The things I bought & brought were not to compete or show up other moms, i bought them because its what I buy on a regular basis. (except for the yogurt slurpies, i only get those when they're on sale, either way, it had nothing to do with another mom, it had to do with what i wanted to buy my family. plain and simple.) ;)

of course, i'm not saying that moms NEVER point a finger, or think a mean thought towards anyone else (obviously its happening since its being reported in all these blogs posts), but what I am saying (because i can only speak for myself and not anyone else)... is that this mama don't do dat... and I'm betting that a lot of others don't as well.

How about we give each other the benefit of the doubt and stop assuming that what people think about us is horrible, terrible things (that sounds more like satan's lies trying to destroy and distract). maybe, lets assume that they aren't even thinking about us at all... and yes, i'm writing and reading this myself, i don't need to worry, fret, or fear that people are going to see me as a pretentious hippy snob when they see me carrying organic items... because they're probably just wondering why i eat organic or maybe they're wondering what i think about their donuts. maybe they don't care either way.

wanna know what i think about your donuts? i wanna know if there's a blueberry cake do-nut in the box so i can drool over it and smell it and convince myself its worth cheating over!! where's the milk!

seriously though, we're never going to know what the other person actually thinks unless we actually talk about it, and really, its ok if we never do because i don't base my life decisions and purchases on what other people think or expect. you don't need to either. but the assumptions need to stop and the communication needs to begin.

...and that's what I think about that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homeschool FAQ: #1

Question: What does your typical day look like?

Short Answer: there are no typical days... but you probably already knew that. :)

Long Answer: Here's a description of our schedule...

Kids wake up (hopefully before 8... yeah we're not alarmists 'round here) and complete their "wake-up tasks" which include brushing teeth, fixing their bed and personal bible reading.

Eat Breakfast, wash their dish and get dressed.

Family Time:
  • All the kids gather together for scripture memory verses. Each of the older three take turns leading the practice each day.
  • 15 minutes of exercise all together (we might go for a walk, or do some stretching, or some aerobics, etc...)
  • 15-20 minutes of Foreign Language (we spend a few minutes learning/reviewing the Telugu alphabet, etc... and watch a few minutes of an Indian movie via youtube videos)

Individual Time: [Core academics]

depending on who needs a kindle or a computer or mommy... determines what order they go in (and that's pretty much what takes the time to organize), but essentially everyone is working on Math, Reading and Writing between 9:30 and 12. the older three (4th, 6th and 7th grade) are primarily on their own, and I focus my time with the 2nd grader and she is technically done by 11:30 and that gives me time to get lunch started while she plays quietly on her own and the others finish up. they also stop for a 10-15 minute snack between their first and second subjects.

LUNCH, wash our plate and at 1 o'clock we start our "family contributions" (aka chores)!! (takes about 15-20 minutes... a wonderful benefit of having a smaller house!)

Family Time (again): we come together for a time of bible study, discussion and prayer.

Individual Time (again): the kids now have their "extra" or non-core subjects. which are currently Computer Programming (7th), French (6th), Texas History (4th), and whatever interesting thing I find for the 2nd grader for the day. :)

then the option for art or handicrafts or music is available (but most often neighborhood friends are knocking on the door to play by then, lol)

the end.

but of course THEN there are days like today where we all wake up around 8:40 and also have other errands to throw into the mix. so pretty much what we do is start from the beginning and work our way through, adjusting meal times . and for instance with today i have to take a 90 minute trip to get our goat milk, so i bring the two youngest and they do reading in the van together while the older two continue at home following their normal schedule. and if 3 o clock rolls around and we haven't done everything we had scheduled, we still quit. (and that works for us because of how we progress through lessons) and we try not to end up looking like this...

Monday, September 15, 2014

quick catch up

up late.

I keep thinking that surely things will slow down.
[buuuuuut. they don't. ha!]

We are full steam ahead with school.
[and it only took me 3 days of staying up till 2am to get it all ready. someday I'll share the deets on that.]

We have a good routine established
[or so i thought until choir and gymnastics and artsview and so on peeked around the corner and said, "oh, Hello!"]

We have a new "Family Contribution" (aka CHORES) system that is working out pretty well
[one of these days I'll post pictures and give details on this too... but knowing me, it could take a year, so don't hold your breath waiting. I don't want to be responsible for those senseless deaths]

We have NOT sold our house yet.
[but we did get the inside repainted and spruced and if it doesn't sell in the next couple of months we might just rent it out]

We shaved the dog.
[really that's worth it's own entire post. but I want to go to sleep]

good. night.
[or as i used to say... blog ya later... though "weeks" might be more accurate than simply saying "later"]

Friday, August 8, 2014

want. need. anxiety.

it's amazing how easily and how quickly a simple comparison can change your definition of "want" to "need".

i gave samuel a math placement test to see where to start him in a different curriculum. since we cut off the school year rather abruptly because of buying/selling houses, he didn't get as far as i would have liked, but he tested to a certain book and i happen to have that book, so that's good. but i don't have the solution manual or the test & worksheet book, and since it's an older version i'm not sure if they still offer those things for this version.

so i started looking around at the current version of this text and of course i already know that we can't buy any school materials right now, but i kept looking, thinking maybe if i just found one site that had it low enough then i could figure something out.

serveral minutes later i notice my leg bouncing (ya know that nervous bounce) and my heart rate going a little faster and a little anxiety starting to build within. before i knew it, i was just focused on finding this newer version with everything i needed to go with it and i was realizing how impossible it was becoming.... so i paused and bowed my head.

but i didn't pray that some miracle would take place and i'd magically get this curriculum kit. i halfway did, for just a split second... but prayer isn't magic. no instead i prayed that i would trust the Lord. and that i would be content with what's available to me. there are a million and one resources out there for math. and they will do just fine. i do not "need" the curriculum kit. i have what i "need" and its ok if i don't get what i "want".

and now, wonder of wonders... there's peace again. bye bye anxiety. my situation did not change. but my perspective has been realigned.

how often does this happen in other areas of my life? your life? whether its an outfit, a car, a house or anything that we begin to covet (defined as "yearn to posses or have). we don't' need to spend hours on our knees praying for things to magically appear, or problems to magically be solved, or our covetous wishes to be granted. that is not the purpose of prayer. we need to spend time with the Father so that our heart, our thoughts, our desires, and our perspective become one with His. so that our yearning is fixed on the Creator, His purposes and His ways.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Whirlwind of a Month

i honestly can't remember the details...

everything has become quite blurred in my mind's eye due to an endless sea of boxes...

but here goes...


ok that's all that really matters. we're in. we love it. and we definitely have to get rid of a LOT. MORE. STUFF. sheesh. I'm pretty sure our oldest daughter has to get rid of the most since she went from having her own room to sharing with her two sisters.

but the kids love this house. they love the neighborhood too. new and old friends really makes it worth it for them.

my favorite part is probably how sunny and bright it is throughout most of the day. and i do love the hardwood floors. i really do think the size is perfect for our family.

the hardest part is probably that i want everything to be in its place, but that's just going to take some time and i have to remind myself that its ok if it's not done right away. :P

the other tough part has been not having a fridge. especially at a time when we really have to watch our spending and i've basically had to grocery shop every day or two because the mini-fridge we're using just won't hold enough for a family of six. buuuut after a few weeks of waiting, it has arrived and man, do i appreciate it!!

aside from quite a few boxes everywhere, the house is definitely livable. still not sure where some stuff is. but we're definitely getting there.

i would just like to say, that for anyone thinking it would be too hard to downsize, you really ought to consider it. :) obviously different families have different needs and so forth, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of house and stuff you have to keep up with, just let some of it go... or a lot of it! it's quite refreshing. even in the midst of our moving chaos there are moments of stillness and quiet where i pause and realize that the simplicity of things helps me be more aware of the blessings around. i hope we keep this trend move forward and keep getting rid of things that weigh us down.

don't get me wrong, i've had some "break down" moments too, especially when trying to work with the kids in their time of adjustment. and then i tend to get frustrated that some things are even an issue because i see that it's the selfishness of this world and more specifically our american culture that's staring me in the face, and it's because i've taught it to them and its so deeply infused in my own thinking and actions.

and there have been other moments of some fear and trepidation as we face a tight (but still extremely blessed) budget, as in the school year won't start out with "perfectly" new crayons and map pencils and notebooks, but we have more than enough supplies to last a couple years. and we cancelled our netflix account but the kids have been playing more games together and enjoying neighborhood friends. and we didn't go "out" for the traditional frozen yogurt for our daughters birthday but we still had some from the store at a fraction of the price. and we didn't get her a present, but she had a friend over and all the kids laughed a wonderfully care free laugh at an old movie and cheered over late night cheap pizza...thank you little Caesars lol. and selling the hubby's car couldn't have come at a better time to help cover fixing the van (and the car itself) and stuff for the old house that still hasn't sold (pray it sells!!). but see what i mean, we are still so blessed and still have SO much.

and i'm reminded of the Lord's grace in all of this.

and i'm reminded that He is for us.

and i'm reminded why we've put ourselves in this position. and i wouldn't want it any other way.

and i think psalm 119:32 words it perfectly, "I will run the course of your commandments. For You shall enlarge my heart"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

permission to grieve

everyone has their own story.

this is mine.

364 days out of the year i try not to define myself by my past. i'm strong and move forward. i try to see the positive side. i focus on a plethora of blessings. i try to live forgiveness and i try to grow. it's not always easy, but usually it's relatively doable.

but there's always that one day.

and it always hits me like a ton of bricks.

and i always seem to forget that it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks.

sometimes i'm just flat out cranky. sometimes sad. sometimes bitter. sometimes i have no words. sometimes i pretend i'm great. sometimes i feel rejected. sometimes i feel forgotten. sometimes i cry. sometimes i hold it in. sometimes i want to drive off. sometimes i want to drink. sometimes i want to forget. sometimes i just want to sit in silence. sometimes i want to be alone. sometimes i feel alone. sometimes i want to be surrounded by my friends. sometimes i wish things had been different. sometimes i want to scream. sometimes i want to run. sometimes i get anxious. sometimes i panic. sometimes i ignore it. sometimes i feel guilty. sometimes i feel selfish.

what i realized this year... is that even if i can make it through the one day... if i don't let myself feel all the feels there are to feel (also known as grieving)... it'll still come bite me in the butt days or weeks later. i can't escape it.

and i've decided it's time to stop trying to escape... stop trying to be strong. stop trying to act like it doesn't effect me. it's time to give myself permission to grieve and simply let another layer of the wound be exposed... so it can heal.

the specifics don't matter. i'm sure many, if not all of us, have a day, or an experience, or an event, or a person that we have to deal with every so often. and i hope you can give yourself permission to work through it however you  need to work through it. i hope you can face it head on and let yourself be vulnerable to the pain AND the healing.

and that's all i have to say about that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

the latest

phew, just checked the date of my last post and was glad it hadn't quite been a month yet. just 3 weeks. technically i have a post that i started the very next day... and then a bunch of stuff kicked into gear aaaand here we are.

so just a quick review of the last three weeks. it's basically been day after day after day of cleaning the house and not really doing a lot of anything because you wanna be ready to leave if you get a phone to show the house.

we've also been busy selling stuff that wont fit or work well in our different space. and technically we should have already been in the new house by now and had a nice empty house to show with cleaned carpets instead of a half decorated, half organized, half packed, half a house of weird-not-matching-things going on. i can't even put it into proper words and sentences.

anyways. a few plans have changed since last we met. but let me catch you up on specifics since some people seem to enjoy that kind of stuff. we've sold our couch and loveseat, two twin beds, our entire queen bedroom suite, school desks (we had six in the house. six. really? we have four kids. and really we could do with two since we need places to put school laptops, but anyways, bye bye desks), a round table from the school room... silliness. i mean, i'm not schooling 10 children here, why so many desks and tables? um what else... a bench, tv trays and oh yeah ANOTHER table (like a little indoor picnic table). aye aye aye. oh we still need to sell a desk that we've been using as an entertainment center. whew.

thanks to a plethora of garage sale type facebook groups, i haven't actually had to deal with having a garage sale. awh yeah.

so all those things have been sold at a decent price and the funds used to replace it all with the following:
  • a slightly smaller, sleeker couch (on sale at the furniture store. awh yeah. i wanted to find one resale but everyone's pretty much just selling the bulky kind we just got rid of) 
  • a smaller, simpler desk that will replace the current bigger desk/entertainment center (resale facebook group)
  • 3 twin mattresses (decent price at Sam's club) and dave and i have moved down the the full sized bed that was micah's and double as a guest bed 
  • to match the colors in the new house we bought new sheets for everyone. sam also got a new comforter and i purchased a new quilt and sheets for our bed since the queen sized stuff obviously wont fit (and i didn't want dave having to sleep in the shabby chic floral stuff micah had)
  • a new rug (since we will have hardwood floors, and the coffee table will serve as school desk area, i figured we outta buy a somewhat decent rug). which reminds me, i guess we can give away the previous rug since it was given to us.
  • two chairs from a local resale shop (i tried to look up the type... one is basically called a vintage midcentury modern chair... huh? and the other i dunno. i dont really care. all i care is that i got TWO chairs for the price of... well like HALF of a new chair!)
  • 3 retro suitcases (local thrift shops)
  • a few (ok FIVE... i guess i have a thing for tables) of the super simple but colorful Lack tables from ikea. 1 for each of the girls to have in their room to place their retro suitcase "vanity" on and serve as a desk when needed... and two to use as a very inexpensive split coffee table (i don't know if that's what you call it, but that's what i'm calling it). i WAS going to drive to ikea this weekend, but it was cheaper to have it shipped than spend on gas as well as all the other stuff (aka non-essential junk) i would've unintentionally carried out of the store.
  • and i still have enough from what we've sold to get paint for the house, an end table to go between the chairs (resale of course), and a cheap but somewhat decent rug for our bedroom, and probably a couple more of the Lack side tables since we dont have nightstands anymore... but we gotta wait to see what space is left once we move in... more waiting. sigh.

ok that was probably way too detailed... oh well.

i really have tried to be very mindful of everything i'm looking at and purchasing. and i still face the temptation to get things that will "look great" and "go perfect" but if it's not on the list then i just gotta remind myself not to get it. right now i absolutely need to focus on the absolute essentials (and even that's been pretty lax... new sheets aren't essential.xbut you gotta decide what you gotta decide and you gotta be content with your decision and i am. content.

and a bit stressed. not gonna candy-coat it... its not easy planning so much ahead and making countless trips to stores and spending numerous hours online to find the best deals and comparing quality with affordability and necessity and so on.

the hardest part really is that I am SO ready to BE in the new house and to put what we do have where it will go and to stand in the middle of the room and smile and think to myself ,"...ahhh" and "thank you Lord". and i am SO ready for colorful walls and rooms!!

"A home filled with only the things you love or use is a home you will truly love to use." -J. Baker
... that's my goal right now in all this planning and selling and purchasing... keep and/or get the things that are essential and efficient and in the colors that we love... and let go of the rest.