Tag Archives: Encouragement

The Year of Living Happy {a Review}

I seem to get on a roll with reviewing books, then petering off for a while. The great thing about kids’ books is they’re a really fast review!

As Christian we kind of get caught up, sometimes, in this idea that if we’re happy and w enjoying our lives, we must be living a life that it selfish. That somehow we are allowing ourselves to pursue our own pleasures rather than God. God wants us to have a life of joy and happiness, in Him. Alli Worthington‘s new book talks about just that.

In her new book, The Year of Living Happy: Finding Contentment and Connection in a Crazy World, Alli talks about we were made to be happy, that God desires us to be happy and that in being happy we are living for Him.

“My hope for The Year of Living Happy is to bring the truth of Scripture and best of modern research together as a guide to real happiness.” ~ Alli Worthington

This book was so good and so manageable! It’s written in short 1-2 page chapters (100 of them), each of them followed with a short to-do or thoughts to mull over. There is Scripture for us to read and let pour into our hearts and mind.

Alli even digs into the times in our lives when it’s down right HARD to be happy. Maybe life is throwing some rapid fire punches, or everything is really great, but you’re struggling with being happy…there’s a whole chapter for this very real battle.

Whether you’re struggling with being happy or not, this little book has some great information and tips to help you live your happiest life!

**I received this book for free through the BookLookBloggers program….the opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas {a Review}

Just got this one in the mail today from BookLookBloggers.com (You can read my disclosure policy here).

If you follow me on IG, you got to see Peter’s box opening in my stories; he was pretty excited to be getting to open a package with something for HIM in it! Can’t say as I blame the kid.

We’ve had the Jesus Calling kids devotional, which we’ve all really liked, but I’m an extra sucker for a Christmas book, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The illustrations are fun and colorful, without being garish. The font is easy to read, while the text is simple enough for any child to be engaged in it. Each page has not only a part of the story, but bible verses for that part of the story.

All around this is a great Christmas book addition, which takes kids from way back in the Christmas story to how it applies to them today. I did get the picture book version, that said, I think I’d prefer the board book, as it really is geared toward the under 5 kiddos.

Do Things Scared

There are some massive changes going on in our family this summer. While we’re all excited for them, I have to admit, I’m honestly terrified too. Us moms, we ultimately just want our kids to be happy, well adjusted people, who aren’t turds. I think that’s something we can all agree on. Of course the pathways there are numerous and everyone seems to have an opinion on “what is best”.

As of July 1st, I will be hanging up my hat as a homeschool mom. It’s kind of a struggle, I feel like I’m somehow losing my credentials as a mom. That by not homeschooling I’m giving up and taking a shortcut. 

I shared a few weeks ago about the possibility of our oldest four going to school in the fall. The decisions have been made and teacher assignments are in the mail. Avelyn will be going into second grade and Henry, James, and Ellie will be going to kindergarten.

Academically I think those are the right choices for them, my concern remains for the social aspect. My kids are going to be a full year to two years older than the kids in their grades. Ultimately, that’s not a big deal, because who cares how old you are when you graduate high school.

It’s more my concern that they will stick out. I’m also hoping that their maturity and age will set them apart from their classmates in a good way, that they will have the strength to do and say what is right, and not cave to the negatives of peer pressure.

So yea, I’m nervous. I’m scared. But I’m also hopeful and excited. I think it’s the right time.

People have also assumed that we’ve thrown in towel on homeschooling, we haven’t. It’s just not what is working for us right now. Maybe in a few years we will come back to homeschool, maybe we won’t. We have always said we will take it a year a time. I can’t predict or know what’s going to happen.

The other big change this summer is that the kids are going to overnight camp! It’s just for two nights, but still, that’s a HUGE deal in our house. Our church diocese has a camp they run all summer long. The kids were excited to try their beginner camp, so we will see how it goes.

I’m hoping and praying that it goes well; particularly since I have one child that does not do well with not being home, not that any of them are fantastic at being away. I’m just hoping I’m not making any midnight drives to pick kids up from 3 hours away.

So, yea…big changes for us. Good changes, but still scary. It’s a good thing my motto for the past year has been do it scared.

 

 

Homeschool in the White House

I shared a long time ago about how this past school year (2017-2018) was going to be the first year of homeschooling Avie and the triplets, but I never shared anything about it again. It’s been hard. This post hasn’t been an easy one to write, the words haven’t come together willing.

I knew going in that teaching the basics wasn’t going to be easy, not because I’m incapable or the kids are inept, but just because of personalities. And I was right.

We plowed through much of the school year, dealing with attitudes and personalities, trying to figure out how to approach things for each kid, because they all are different and learn different too. There were times when it was sweet perfection and times when there were tears, either me or the kids.

I love homeschooling, don’t get me wrong. I love it….in theory. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the kids, maybe it’s all of it together, but it was not working for us this past year.

One thing I do know is that I have always said

I will not sacrifice my motherhood on the altar of homeschooling.

I won’t do it.

My relationship with my children, as their mother, is far more important to me and our family, than whether I homeschool or send my kids to school.

In February, Avie expressed interest in going to school…then Jamie (Henry and Ellie were adamant about NOT going to school). We played with the idea, talked to the school. Right now we’re in the process of finding out where they will fit grade-wise and deciding whether or not to send them in the fall. Then the other day Henry and Ellie said they wanted to go to school.

There are parts of public schooling that are very appealing to us, and no, getting them out of my hair isn’t one of them. I really want my children to play instruments, I want them to be exposed to the arts. Honestly, we can’t afford piano lessons for all five. By the time we’ve checked off the boxes of what we HAVE to do, I have nothing left to give for the things I want to do (crafts, art, etc), and that part SUCKS!

As of right now we haven’t made an official decision yet regarding any of them. The school really feels strongly that James needs to go into Kindergarten and that Avelyn needs to repeat second grade, and I’m not sure I’m ok with that.

James will be 7 in December and while he’s not fluent with his letters, I’m concerned that he’s going to be bored and frustrated surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds (not to mention that he’s going to stick out like a sore thumb with his speech issues, glasses, and being a full head taller than any kid his age). I  truly do believe that he will rise to the occasion if he’s placed in 1st grade, as will Avelyn.

As for Henry and Ellie, I really don’t think there’s any convincing I could do on the school’s part to enroll them in first grade. They’re smart, but they’re just not there with their letters.

Needless to say, I’m struggling. Struggling with feeling as though I’ve failed them, that they’re behind, that this was my fault and my selfishness of wanting to homeschool, that my “little experiment” resulted in their being behind their peers academically. Then the other part of me is “screw it”; we did what was right for our family at that time, I don’t regret for one second having them home with me.

What is the rush of getting them into school?! Why? So they can be in the workforce or college a year earlier? I want my kids to LOVE learning, not be “educated”. We all have our opinions on curriculum, common core, and socialist education (no child left behind etc). Traditional schooling is NOT for everyone, not every kid flourishes in it, and the same is for homeschooling. And I refuse to be made to feel that I’ve done wrong by attempting this year of homeschooling.

And none of this is to say that we will never homeschool again. I really do feel that for our family homeschooling is the right choice. I truly feel that if we do send the kids to public school that it will be for a season, maybe not for all of them, but for some of them. Maybe once they’ve had the “experience” and have the basics under the belts, we will all be home again. I don’t know, but I know that I’m ok with whichever way we decide.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write on this, because this is a huge thing in our family right now. None of it’s easy.

Life Happens – Where I’ve Been for the Past Year or So

I know I kind of fell off the face of the earth for the past, umm year, is it? It’s been a while since I posted anything of any substance, anywhere, longer since I posted anything about my family. I still have drafts I wrote last Summer that I have every intention of publishing…someday. In all honesty, life has been a bit of a struggle for me, the past few months, the past year.

I read something about stress-levels post multiples and how post-partum depression hits later than with singletons. I don’t know if 6 years later is feasible or not. Maybe it is. At just the time they say it hits (2-3 years of age), we had Peter, which didn’t give me the chance to breath…life marched on. There was no time to feel “depressed”.

There’s still no time, but it’s there. The tired, the not caring, the overwhelmed. 

And this is where I always freeze up when it comes to sharing, because no one knows how or wants to admit that they don’t really like themselves or their life sometimes. At least I don’t. And there’s another part that if you are liking who you are becoming or what you are doing, there’s a problem with that too.

I love my husband. I love my kids. I love our home. Sometimes it’s all too much though, too much noise, too much stuff, too many personalities, too many to-dos. And all the too much means there’s not enough of other things…quiet, clean, brain power, focus, clarity.

My mind gets swept along the raging river, bashing into rocks and being sucked under the waves. Sometimes, I’m able to keep my head up, manage to keep afloat amidst the debris, and other times I’m sucked into one of those underwater crevices of a rock and the panic sets in.

They tell me that this is normal, that it’s just “motherhood”. Then why do I feel so alone, despite opening up to others, that no one really is drowning in this as much as I am. I don’t honestly think I’m failing at this, I think I’m doing a pretty darn OK job at mothering these 5, but why does it feel like I’m the only mom that wants to walk away from it, from them?

Last summer my book club read “The Awakening”, and most of the responses of the other moms was how could she leave her children, that she was so selfish for all she was doing…and all I could think was how I “got” what she felt. She would do anything for her children, except kill her “self”.

I’m sure there are many Christian moms that would read this, clutching their pearls, at the very thought of not dying to self, of not living solely for their children. I’m sorry, I can’t, and I don’t honestly think that God wants me to become a shell of a woman for the sake of my children. I don’t for one minute believe that I am supposed to entirely relinquish my interests, identity, or any part of me for my role as a mother.

That said, it’s finding my self, finding the time to remember who I was before any of this, that feels impossible. The part that makes it so impossible is that I’ve always lived for someone else and what they expected of me, so it’s not just FINDING my self, but actually LEARNING who I am, and in that there is a struggle.

When you start figuring out who you are, what your interests are, who you want to be, you have a tendency to piss off people, to disappoint people. You become no longer willing to just make every one else happy, to be a doormat. Suddenly, there’s a whole other part of you. Your interests and opinions and feelings don’t line up with what people expect you to do and be. And that can be a very hard place to be.

It’s very often pointed out that the marriage/husband should be the focus of a family, because after the children are long gone, that will still exist…and it’s true. Your children are your’s for a season, your husband will be your’s until death do you part (baring anything else). But here’s the thing, YOU will be you until forever.

What happens when a spouse dies? You’ve lived your entire life for that person only to not know how to function when they’re gone. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to curl up in a ball and not be able to live if something were to happen to my husband, and I know he wouldn’t want that for me, just as I wouldn’t want that for him, no matter how old we were.

Now that I’ve taken this whole big thing to explain what my mental state has been for the past year. I have been in a constant struggle between taking care of my children and husband and taking care of myself. I don’t have an answer on how to manage it. I don’t have a solution.

Sometimes I feel like me. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed (I d0 anyways). I’m not sure that there is a way to find a balance between the two, because as soon as I feel like me, I’m hear that I’m failing my family. It’s lovely really *note sarcasm*.

I think the hardest part of my writing and being active on social media, is that I don’t want to be open with certain people in my life. I honestly don’t want to share my struggles with nosy relatives, the neighbors who are just going to gossip, but I don’t know how to cut those ties without insulting someone. So I shut myself up instead. At the time it seems easier.

That said, I am seriously considering going private again as a blogger, because I know I need this space. There are a lot of things that I want to mull over and share and process here, and hopefully in the near future I will be sharing more about things that are going on in my life.